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PUBG owner Krafton sued in sexual assault, wrongful termination case

The lawsuit alleges that Krafton fired a woman after she reported sexual assault by an executive

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A photograph of a person playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) on a mobile phone. The camera is pointed at the phone’s screen from behind, and we only see the player’s hands. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

A former Krafton employee is suing the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds maker for wrongful termination after she reported an alleged sexual assault by former Krafton head of strategy and business Kevin Kimball.

The lawsuit — which describes sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, false imprisonment, and wrongful termination — was filed in December 2023 with the Los Angeles Superior Court. The 31-year-old woman was employed by Krafton from 2021 to 2023, and the alleged sexual assault involving Kimball was said to have occurred on Dec. 8, 2022, at a work-related party following the Game Awards in Los Angeles.

The event began at a Los Angeles bar before moving to a Striking Distance party, where the woman says the assault occurred, according to the lawsuit. (Striking Distance is a subsidiary of Krafton that focuses on narrative games within the PUBG universe.) The woman said in the lawsuit that Kimball made sexual advances on her while giving her more alcohol, leading to what the lawsuit describes as a “forced sex assault in a bathroom stall.” The lawsuit states that Kimball “forced himself” on her until she escaped, crying, from the bathroom stall.

The alleged sexual assault was reported to Krafton management, but the lawsuit states it was “ignored” as leaders “did not investigate the complaints.” The woman was fired two months later in what the lawsuit calls retaliation.

“These Defendants had the right, duty, ability and power to protect Plaintiff (and all females) from sex harassment, sexual assault and alcohol fueled debauchery yet nothing was done to address Kimball’s sex assault of the Plaintiff,” lawyers wrote. Not only has the woman claimed to face financial distress from “leaving her without income and unemployed from full time work since [she was] suddenly fired,” she says she has experienced “severe emotional distress,” including “great fear, disgrace, constant concern, [and] embarrassment.”

Kimball has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment by publication. A Krafton representative provided the following message to Polygon: “We treat all allegations of improper workplace conduct with the utmost seriousness. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to comment on the specifics of the case.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Kimball worked for Striking Distance and Krafton for roughly three years, first as vice president of global marketing at Striking Distance before becoming Krafton’s head of strategy and business in January 2023, after the alleged assault. Kimball left Krafton in September 2023, per LinkedIn. The reason for his departure is unknown, though Kimball now lists himself as self-employed. Prior to Krafton, Kimball worked at PlayStation, Ubisoft, Zynga, and Electronic Arts.

Update: This story has been updating to include a comment from a Krafton representative.

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