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In the wake of headlines regarding sexual harassment by Hollywood bigwigs, prominent studio Naughty Dog is now in the spotlight following claims from a former employee.
Former Naughty Dog designer David Ballard issued a series of tweets, saying that he had been harassed by a colleague in a more senior position.
“In late 2015, I was sexually harassed at Naughty Dog by a lead. My work environment became extremely toxic afterward,” his first tweet reads.
In late 2015, I was sexually harassed at Naughty Dog by a lead. My work environment became extremely toxic afterward. 1/
— David Ballard (@DBal) October 14, 2017
Ballard says that he suffered a mental breakdown in 2016, which resulted in Sony’s PlayStation HR division stepping in.
“When I told them about the harassment, they ended the call and fired me the next day,” he claimed. “They cited the company was moving in a different direction and my job was no longer needed.”
Ballard says that “they tried to silence me by offering $20 000 if I signed a letter agreeing to the termination as well as to not discuss it with anyone”, but he apparently refused to do so.
“I’m speaking out now because of the strength I’ve seen in others coming forward about their experiences in the TV/Film industry,” the former Naughty Dog employee adds.
Naughty Dog responds
The studio has since responded to the allegations, claiming it hasn’t “found any evidence of having received allegations” from the ex-employee.
“We have recently read on social media that an ex-employee of Naughty Dog, Dave Ballard, claims he was sexually harassed when he worked at Naughty Dog. We have not found any evidence of having received allegations from Mr. Ballard that he was harassed in any way at Naughty Dog or Sony Interactive Entertainment,” the studio wrote on its website.
“We have taken and always will take reports of sexual harassment and other workplace grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Naughty Dog and Sony interactive Entertainment,” it continued.
“It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe, productive workplace environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making games.”