Top
660°

Insomniac Responds to Sexual Harassment Accusations

Sony's First party Studio, Insomniac Games, responded to a female ex employee, who declared considering suicide due to harassment while working at Insomniac Games:

"We were aware of the allegations made in a former employee's tweets today and had taken numerous steps to address them. For legal and privacy reasons we will not respond to individual allegations about specific former employees. (1/2)"

The story is too old to be commented.
sushimama41d ago

Good. Look into it and see if there is anything to it and act accordingly. I don't believe women or men. I believe in facts and evidence. If the woman has proof then show it, if not, then shut up and stop trying to hurt someone's career. Stop trying to tranish a whole studio because if you don't have any receipts then I don't believe a word you say.

If it turns out it was just innapropriate jokes and things of that nature, then the person should be reprimanded but NOT fired. Whatever it is, I'm glad the studio and Sony will get to the bottom of it. All I say is, DO NOT overreact.

Marquinho40d ago

"Multiple current and former Insomniac employees have come out in support of Brennan. Dahlia Hegab, a user experience researcher, wrote that she was "one of those women and I'm still suffering from my time there." Xavier Coelho-Kostolny, a 3D character artist, wrote that all of what Brennan wrote is true and that "it sucks it has to be said."

https://www.msn.com/en-us/e...

Marquinho40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

Another (former) employee backing up her story.
https://twitter.com/Dahls11...

And another:
https://twitter.com/ToffeeC...

And Another:
https://twitter.com/Charles...

These are Insomniac Employees backing this up, and we're focusing on small details like how or why she did this or that, or calling it with ironic names.

RememberThe35740d ago

Yeah this shit true AF. Gotta get the weirdos out. Give em the boot Sony.

Marquinho40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

It's a good thing Insomniac is taking action.

RazzerRedux40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

To be clear.

"I'm sorry Dhalia. We should have spoke more.
I support you and thank you for adding your voice <3"
https://twitter.com/ToffeeC...

"Like I said to Sol; I believe every single word and I'm so sorry for what you and others have been going through (and still suffering from)

You deserve so much better than this"
https://twitter.com/Charles...

This isn't backing up anything. Those are messages of support.

"I'm one of those women and I'm still suffering from my time there."
https://twitter.com/Dahls11...

Seems this person went through something similar, but no details

Teflon0240d ago

My only issue with cases of sexual harassment is that it's very subjective. Reason being. If you go to try talk to a girl while randomly on the street walking to a store and she's not interested in you. It can be called Sexual harassment if you say almost anything remotely sexual related or anything that can be misunderstood as sexual. While it may not have ever been intended to be. While is the dude is some 10, it's not sexual harassment anymore. She might be pushing a sexual narrative too.

Now this isn't against anyone who's been or being sexually harassed.

But it's to say, sexual Assault is a easy situation to deal with once there's evidence. But Even with evidence, because sexual harassment is so subjective and up to interpretation. The most you can usually do without hard evidence is try to work with both parties. He can simply say it wasn't his intent. He was just trying to be friendly or be like how someone else is with her etc. So much variables.

Has to be a hard headache for them right now

rainslacker40d ago

@Teflon

If it happened on the street, there is really no recourse unless the person tries to hard, then it becomes actual harassment, and can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on who far they took it.

In a work place environment, any such behavior is generally inappropriate, and what is allowed can vary between companies. But, legally, sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual attention, which also includes attention that may not be explicitly sexual in nature.

Some companies do allow for non-workplace interaction to occur, and realistically, it's not even logistically sound to try to prevent it all together, but making advances in the office, and being persistent with them when the person receiving the attention doesn't want such attention, is more often than not a terminal offense.

Sometimes, there are misunderstandings, or people interpret things in different ways, and more often than not, such things can be cleared up by making the person aware, or sometimes mediation.

All companies are going to handle such cases differently, but one thing all companies do is not publicly place blame on the accused, or talk about specifics of the case publicly. This a legal thing, because talking about the accused publicly leads to the potential for slander, or in the cases where it's true, usually falls into work place laws which don't allow companies to say bad things about former/current employees to their next employer, and saying something now, can be held against them in the future if they're ever denied a job because of it. It's just not worth it to appease the court of public opinion, which tends to be irrational, but also tends to move on quickly.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 40d ago
RazzerRedux40d ago

Seems this guy was a huge creep. Another current employee spoke up as well:

"Oh my god this is exactly what my experience was with "Bob". I mean almost identical, minus being in a relationship with him. This is terrifying. Thank god he's not working at Insomniac anymore. They've done a good job to take care of me and I've never felt uncomfortable since."
https://twitter.com/LauraTh...

Marquinho40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

His name is Edgar Vargas.

https://twitter.com/wuffles...

And this is NOT about him only:

"Insomniac promotes a culture of open honestly. You can speak to anyone about anything. You can ask any question. I put that to the test and even tho we were told this was the case - it was not. When one of my friends was forced to quit, I handed in my resignation the next day."

https://twitter.com/wuffles...

xTonyMontana40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

How exactly do you prove you were sexually harassed? Unless there are explicit messages you kept, things like that are extremely difficult to prove. Distasteful jokes isn't going to lead someone to suicidal thoughts. Having said that though there is a right way and a wrong way to go about these things and trial by internet lynch mob is never the answer.

frostypants40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

Counterpoint: how exactly do you prove you didn't sexually harass? It's harder to prove a negative. That's why the burden of proof is always on the accuser.

Marquinho40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

How about multiple co-workers backing up these accusations?

And also the way Insomniac handled this.

rainslacker40d ago

Within a company, it's common practice to investigate any claim. Sometimes not enough proof can be found, but it does allow for establishing a pattern. In many cases, if handled properly, it can be resolved.

More egregious cases dont usually just happen out of the blue, and there is often a trail which can lead to appropriate action. Many cases dont lead to immediate termination...such as off color jokes which usually just involve a reprimand and reminder of harassment policies.

A lot of it depends on the policies and management at the company itself though. All of the above certainly isnt the case everywhere, and some places are bad at handling such things, or promote less than ideal environments that can actually encourage such behavior.

Christopher40d ago

Sexual Harassment in the workplace is not about necessarily proving what happened, but limiting exposure to what happened. It is very hard to "prove" most cases of sexual harassment as they do not have a stream of evidence or direct witnesses. Even the tweets you are seeing are of people who are second-hand parties (such as Xavier in the case of this situation) and were told by someone of the incidents, not witnesses to said incidents.

Regardless of the presence of evidence, what most companies who are following proper procedure would do is to find a way to separate the accuser and accused in the workplace if the incident is not serious in nature or not capable of being proven.

If this is not possible, then it is up to the company to find a way for it to work. More often than not, this tends to result in the firing of one of the parties involved.

To many people who have been sexually harassed, this isn't enough. They don't feel they should ever work with the individual involved and they should be fired. But, that's just not what the law says nor can it because much of what is harassment and what isn't is subjective and up to interpretation. This is also why many companies have policies on not allowing intimate relationships with coworkers.

It's a tricky thing. Companies want to protect themselves, which is appropriate for a company to do in all cases as this isn't about just one employee but every employee in the end. Protecting the company isn't always in the best interest of the accuser. It also can look like the accused is given preference due to a position. But, if there's not enough to make a claim to fire the accused, then they can't or they would open themselves up to a lawsuit from the accused, which tend to actually win cases of these sorts because the company is then required to provide proof of the incident when most cases don't have any.

I'm very conflicted on the social approach to outing people, let alone companies, for these issues that really don't have cut and dry solutions. There are definitely people who do inappropriate things, but those inappropriate things are very rarely something that can be prosecuted in a civil or criminal case and the law says that the process for handling it isn't firing but the separation of the involved parties. I get that this isn't enough for some people. But, is it the fault of the company that they did the "legally" correct thing to protect the company and its employees? It might seem to the people who support harsher actions that it isn't, but in the legal system that company could lose hundreds of thousands or more in money because there wasn't enough to do what the many in the community feel is appropriate.

Honestly, it's just a shitty situation that really has no solution. And I can see why people go to social media with these thoughts. But, then we open the door to publicly shaming people by people who aren't even involved and take easily to demonizing those they're told to demonize. That's just not a healthy approach to either party and has created a system online of people relying on strangers on the Internet for news that oftentimes isn't accurate, let alone true.

extermin8or39d ago

Not being funny but I gather from the tweets that they are trans? Which likely means they have other issues going on that would contribute to depression and suicidal thoughts givwb the extremely high suicide rate anong that demographic..... if I'm mistaken then nvm but don't they say somewhere they loved as a woman for 30 years?

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 39d ago
RazzerRedux40d ago

It is like the gaming industry is having its own #MeToo movement with this, that Chris Avellone story, and this:
https://kotaku.com/wizards-...

Looper40d ago

Guy admits to it. So hopefully we don't get a bunch of gamers mad at the victims like we're known to do.

PS. The victim is the women in this case. I can't believe I have to make that distinction but I KNOW I do.

Marquinho40d ago

I am puzzled by the opinions poured here. Former and Current Co-Workers have come out in support of what she's saying.

We all love Insomniac videogames, but there are more important things in life. I call you to reflect about it.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/e...

RazzerRedux40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

What "opinions" have I offered that "puzzle" you? Below I question this person's wisdom in maintaining a relationship with a person who has repeatedly make unwanted advances. How exactly is that a "puzzling" opinion for one to have?

I never expressed any doubt on what she said or her current/former coworkers have said (other than the timing of the #MeToo movement she referenced). You should reflect on that before you wag your finger.

Edit:

No idea why you are responding to me up there.

"Can we credit her the benefit of the doubt? Since former and current employees are backing her up? The core of the problem isn't just about one person, but about a company protecting these guys. Former employee @xavierck3d on twitter says "ALL of this is true"."

"I know this is a delicate matter, but I believe it has enough proof dig dip into it and at least stop leaving bits of how to discredit that woman."

Again....nothing I said discredited her account at all. Stop suggesting otherwise.

Marquinho40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

"Me too moment"... "but she continued on to the restaurant with him and a bar that same night with that same dude. He was already making moves on her at work. That's all just so bizarre. "

Can we credit her the benefit of the doubt? Since former and current employees are backing her up? The core of the problem isn't just about one person, but about a company protecting these guys. Former employee @xavierck3d on twitter says "ALL of this is true".

https://bit.ly/3exQkYD

"I have a list in the double digits of women who were harmed by the actions of this company - some so much so that they declined to speak about it to me at all.

Insomniac has throttled careers of great women, left them no option but to 'resign' and PROTECTED sexual predators."

https://twitter.com/wuffles...

I know this is a delicate matter, but I believe it has enough proof dig dip into it and at least stop leaving bits of how to discredit that woman.

Also:

Another (former) employee backing up her story.
https://twitter.com/Dahls11...

And another:
https://twitter.com/ToffeeC...

And Another:
https://twitter.com/Charles...

These are Insomniac Employees backing this up, and we're focusing on small details like how or why she did this or that, or calling it with ironic names.

extermin8or39d ago

you realise support of what someone is saying means absolutely nothing unless they witnessed it first hand? Otherwise if someone is simply unpopular a group of people could simply oust them by making such a claim or a paxficularlg manipulative and bullying person could fabricate a story to get a person out who's job they want or if there is an private vendetta for whatever reason the list goes on. I'm not saying that any of these are what has happened in this instance but if there isn't hard proof it is simply hearsay.

jBlakeeper40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

Same thing with NASCAR’s Bobby Wallace noose story. Me too!

rainslacker40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

I don't get upset at the person making the accusation. But sometimes, the things they say dont add up to harassment, or they're not instances that require extreme action against the accused. The railroading that happens without question against the accused is just as bad as the unquestioning support for those that make claims. People are too quick to side with the accuser, long before facts are known, or outcomes from any investigation have been revealed, and usually those things arent reported for legal reasons. A company cant discuss such things publicly more often than not, which is why they make up some PR statement which usually doesnt satisfy those seeking justice.

Each case is different, and they're not usually treated that way.

gamer780440d ago (Edited 40d ago )

Kinda funny games is a mess too, half of their workers / contributors getting chastised. So then they say they’ve all chatted and all is good now. Oh and btw if you are a conservative they don’t want you in their community, unless you are just fiscally conservative they outlined in a podcast today... people leaving their community in droves. Me included, Best friends, ya right.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 39d ago
I_am_Batman40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

It strikes me as odd that a person who claims that there are so many amazing people at insomniac that don't deserve harm directed towards them, would decide to go through twitter which is the most effective way to direct an angry mob towards the company. She also says, that she was universally loved at the company and has many friends there, yet she claims that there is a 'culture of hiding ugliness' and that she only had one ally at the company who was made misarable for fighting what he believes in (incidentally that 'ally' also doesn't work at Insomniac anymore).

She mentions that there were at least 3 sexual predators at Insomniac. According to her one left, one was fired and one still works at the company, because the evidence that was brought forward wasn't enough to determine 'who was in the right or wrong'.

For some reason the accuser decides to focus on the one dude that already got fired a long time ago and gives an example that paints the picture of a perverted idiot that verbally abused the accuser, by telling her how he wanted to have sex with her. Interestingly she says that he gave her weird vibes from the beginning and even after invading her personal space and telling inappropriate jokes and stories she still appreciated his company and went to him for advice many times. After clarifying to the pervert that she was in a relationship and asexual he stopped harassing her. It's amazing to me how often these type of cases go on forever without a clear message being sent to the misbehaving person.

Then the accuser claims that her career was throttled, because she spoke up. No evidence for this is presented other than the subjective perception of other people around her getting promotions, which the accuser admits they deserved, while she didn't get promoted.

She says that's just the tip of the iceberg and that there were a lot more incidents, but she doesn't know if she has the enrgy to tell them all.

I'm sorry, but if you decide to accuse a whole company of having a culture that silences people against speaking up to assholes and potentially even sex offenders you better be ready to answer some questions. How is it ok to incite such a turmoil and then say, I might not want to talk about the details anymore?

Here is the full thread so you can see for yourself: https://twitter.com/wuffles...

RazzerRedux40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

The continued interaction with the guy is very puzzling. She says she "laughed nervously" at him saying how he was going to "f*ck" her while he was driving them to Little Tokyo for drinks but she continued on to the restaurant with him and a bar that same night with that same dude. He was already making moves on her at work. That's all just so bizarre. I'm not doubting any of it happened (obviously, I don't know), but why was this guy such a trusted friend at this point?

She also says "I sniffed him down and found out he had abused so many others and so deeply. The company conveniently gave him the boot the week after #MeToo of August 2019."

Huh? That was two years after the #MeToo movement.

Rachel_Alucard40d ago

The FGC is undergoing a purge too. Many big players are getting kicked out over petty comments, tweets, they made a long time ago. This whole thing is just leaving room for certain agendas to flourish with nobody to speak up.

rainslacker40d ago

I personally know a lot of people that work at Insomniac East, although this took place at their California office from what I can tell, and everyone there seems to love working for Insomniac. they're also rated pretty highly among industry surveys about good places to work.

I believe the accuser here, and don't know any of the accused, but I know bad stuff happens at all companies quite often.

What is harder to figure out is how this is a cultural thing within the office there, because again, I hear nothing but good things about working for Insomniac games. Enough so that I was seriously considering taking a job there because of all the good things I've heard, but I opted to go with the job I currently have instead, so declined the offer from Insomniac.

That was before all this took place, and a different office, but this person suggested it's a systemic problem within the company itself, and that the company doesn't do the things that they are mostly praised for doing within industry trade publications or forums.

I do also wonder if she's improperly characterizing Insomniac not doing anything about the apparent sexual predator, as if she's just unhappy with the result of whatever investigation may have been conducted in relation to that, and the nature of calling someone a sexual predator, and if its just because they have inappropriate behavior at work. I've noticed the term sexual predator be greatly misused in recent years, when the term has a very specific meaning both legally, and contextually.

As far as more incidents....that may be true. Insomniac has something like 400 employees. That's quite a lot, and they all work in close proximity, with long hours, and tend to have a lot of social time, which often leads to a familiarity that can easily lead to potential sexual harassment. A lot of those incidents may just be misunderstandings or miscommunications, because people are human and don't always realize what they're doing....and this is doubly true when they start to feel comfortable with other people.

40d ago Replies(1)
frostypants40d ago (Edited 40d ago )

Why does the frequency of this sort of stuff always seem to skyrocket as elections approach? Weird trend. Like...months will go by and you don't hear much, then boom, it all hits at once.

LOGICWINS40d ago

The reason these things happen during election time is to deter men from speaking up about political issues for fear of them being doxxed or falsely accused.

They want men in general to feel anxious because anxious men don't fight back.

kneon40d ago

I'm not the least bit anxious, because I'm not an asshole. At every company that I've worked at in the last 35 years I always end up hanging out mostly with female coworkers. I don't plan it that way, it's just how it works out, likely because I'm not an asshole, unlike so many other men.

extermin8or39d ago

kneon you may not ve an arsehole but all it would take is one particularly popular colleague with an irrational dislike of you (it happens) to accuse you of something and becauae they are popular other colleagues go "omg it must be true they'd never make this up" and to back them up saying it surely must be true and suddenly you would be in serious shit.

kneon38d ago

That's unlikely to work as there would have been no prior behaviour to back it up. It would be completely out of character. Besides, who could be more popular than me :)

King_Noctis40d ago

There are even more accusations in the wrestling scene. Many wrestlers got suspended or fired altogether due to this issue.

Show all comments (55)
The story is too old to be commented.