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October 16, 2017
2 Min Read
Uncharted developer Naughty Dog has publicly responded to a sexual harassment allegation made by an ex-employee.
Former Naughty Dog artist David Ballard, who worked on both the Uncharted series and The Last of Us, said on Twitter over the weekend that he was sexually harassed in late 2015 by a studio lead during his time at the company.
The initial tweet, at the time this article was published, had garnered over 4,000 retweets--enough exposure to push Sony-owned Naughty Dog to respond directly.
Ballard said his work environment "became extremely toxic" after the alleged incident, and that in February 2016 following what he called a "mental breakdown," the studio fired him.
According to Ballard, after he was fired, Sony PlayStation HR offered him $20,000 to sign a termination letter and remain silent. Ballard said he declined to sign the letter.
On Sunday, Naughty Dog posted a short statement explaining it hasn't found any evidence that Ballard reported the incident during his tenure, and reiterated that it takes harassment and misconduct allegations very seriously.
"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," reads the statement.
"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.
"Harassment and inappropriate conduct have no place at Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. 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 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."
Ballad said he decided to speak out now because of the strength shown by those coming forth about sexual harassment issues in the film and television industry, most recently spurred by allegations against movie executive Harvey Weinstein.
"This is the hardest thing I've ever done," Ballard tweeted," but I will not let anyone kill my drive or love for the video game industry, my passion, or life."
About the Author(s)
News Editor, GameDeveloper.com
Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.
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