It isn’t only Activision Blizzard that has been called out for toxic and problematic behavior in the workplace. Bungie has been accused of having a “toxic workplace” that was full of sexism, creating an atmosphere “in which women were inferior.”
Bungie, the popular development studio behind the original Halo games and more recently Destiny 2, was first exposed by an IGN report on December 10. IGN spoke with 26 current and former employees who all had negative experiences at Bungie, including sexism, “boys’ club culture,” and HR protecting abusers, as well as systemic inequalities and microaggressions. One woman even said she was not allowed to be promoted because she “wasn’t good enough at the game.”
The report also detailed frequent sexual comments and unwanted physical contact, prompting some women in the workplace to resort to posting signage reminding their male coworkers to respect physical boundaries.
Every woman on the narrative team finally threatened to quit around the same time, leading HR to finally address the issues with an accused individual’s behavior.
Other groups accused higher-ups of inappropriate and toxic behavior as well, including poor behaviors directed towards transgender and LGBTQ+ employees. Racist remarks and slurs were also used towards individuals at the studio and Destiny characters.
Bungie CEO Pete Parsons responds to sexism and racism allegations
No names were given in IGN’s report but it was clear that most of the accused individuals were male employees in positions of power. Some had been with the company for years, “skyrocketing” through the ranks despite their alleged toxic and sexist behavior.
Bungie’s CEO, Pete Parsons, decided to respond to the accusations shortly after the report was published. It was originally shared on Bungie’s official Twitter account.
“I want to apologize to anyone who has ever experienced anything less than a safe, fair, and professional working environment at Bungie. I am not here to refute or to challenge the experiences we’re seeing shared today by people who have graced our studio with their time and talent,” Parsons started.
Parsons apologized on behalf of “everyone at Bungie” who have felt “empathy an sadness” after reading the accounts in the expose. Parsons also noted some of the changes that Bungie has mode over the recent years to improve the work environment.
These changes include removing “bad actors” from the studio after “brave” employees came forward about their behavior. Parsons admitted that the company was previously not quick enough in doing this but will “not tolerate toxic behavior from anyone” going forward, even if they are a “rock star.”
“We are now reading and digesting the full story for the first time today. We believe the people whose behavior warranted removal from our company have been terminated or are no longer working for Bungie, but if new information comes to light, whether through this story or by named or anonymous people coming forward, we will act on that information and investigate with integrity,” Parsons continued.
Parsons stated in the message that Bungie will also work towards having stronger inclusion, diversity, and equality. The Bungie Diversity Committee will be reinstated, as well as several new employee-led inclusion clubs. The company is also conducting hiring and promotion practice reviews, and redesigning the system and processes “to correct unintentional outcomes and ensure inequity cannot be built into a murky system.”
Parsons said that he is happy with the progress the company has made but understands it’s “not enough.” He said the change has “taken too long.” He said the CEO’s job is to hold the company accountable and he has seen there is still more to do after reading the IGN account.