Ex-Naughty Dog Employee Alleges Sexual Harassment, Studio Issues Statement

On Saturday, former Naughty Dog environmental artist David Ballard used Twitter to allege he was "sexually harassed at Naughty Dog by a lead [developer]," in late 2015, which prompted his job to become "extremely toxic." Following an apparent mental breakdown, Ballard said he told Sony and Naughty Dog about the sexual harassment, and was quickly fired and offered $20,000 to keep silent. In a statement yesterday, Naughty Dog said it had 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." (Naughty Dog is owned by Sony.)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/evpjgw/ex-naughty-dog-employee-alleges-sexual-harassment-studio-issues-statement

It very quick for them to make a statement which means they want to get it out of the way and not look into it before having all or at least some of the information and then having a proper statement.

When I saw the statement yesterday, I was wondering why they rushed to a conclusion so quickly…but I guess that’s probably straight from the PR playbook. It’s Monday now and the weekly news cycle is prepared to leave David Ballard’s story in the dust.

I hate to get cynical, but when Naughty Dog puts out such a lax response, I feel like it would be naive to react otherwise.

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Everything about that statement makes me more inclined to believe Naughty Dog has problems they want to cover up instead of solving, not less. The content, the format, the timing all couldn’t express more clearly that they don’t understand how to deal with sexual harassment as an organization.

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It’s like they have nothing on the books for how to deal with this, and for some reason, the quick public statement is “uhh uhh we don’t know so just gonna throw him under the bus for now”. Super disappointing.

Just saying they were looking into it would be better, but IDK, maybe they were told by lawyers that this was the absolute safest thing to say or something.

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fuck naughty dog

Dodgy PR speak is the norm, but this feels especially apathetic and callous about the whole thing. You have 300000 people to make facial animations but not one person to launch an investigation into this? What a fucked statement

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I’m not entirely surprised the statement was incredibly dismissive. Sony, the corporation in general (Not just SIE Playstation), has had a terrible recent history in terms of dealing with this between Sony Music executives like Dr Luke and LA Reid being quietly pushed out by Sony Music due to massive harassment complaints against them (Turned out the Keisha court case caused more people to speak out and more pressure on Sony Music) and Sony Music executives had either ignored or dismissed the issue till the pressure got too much and there was widespread outrage. Or the Sony pictures email hack which revealed Sony Pictures buried a complaint by a black woman about an executive allegedly racially and sexually abusing her. For them it’s all about getting it out of the news cycle because even though the accusations are accusations. There’s still a pretty bad history for the press to follow, especially if it hits the mainstream.

Though the absolutely disgusting and callous response on twitter and neogaf by some Naughty Dog “Fans” is unreal. Gamers are not entitled to reciepts over a serious workplace issue. Dismissive statements like this help form internet hate mobs so no bueno to the Sony PR who authorized this response because it was absolutely terrible.


Their statement sounds like two people wrote separate responses then stuck them together. Lots of “We take this very seriously.” right after dismissing it. No one’s going to believe Naughty Dog is capable of dealing with this properly when they can’t even get their act together for a press release. I mean, they couldn’t be bothered to at least go through the motions of pretending to investigate. Just an immediate, “He said what? No. pfffft Liar. We value our employees…”.

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I’ve been reading up on this quite a bit on NeoGAF and I don’t think the statement was quite one of dismissal, but more legal. This sort of thing can be very complicated and can be difficult to have much of an investigation without a formal complaint, which it appears Sony does not have any record of. They wouldn’t make such a statement unless they’re sure there’s no formal complaint about it, since it would be relatively easy to bring up counterevidence to such claim if it exists.

This is a post about what probably happened? http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=252089264&postcount=501

It’s such a poorly worded statement. Like I get what they’re going for but it comes off as very dismissive. Even something as simple as “we have nothing officially recorded about such an incident but we will be conducting an internal review” would have been better if they felt the need to get a C.Y.A statement out there.


Making specific promises can create its own issues, I imagine, which is why they avoided doing so.

This is really cagey. They make it sound like neither ND nor SIE have any record of the harassment, but what they actually said is ND has no record (of harassment occurring at either ND or SIE), even though he specifically said he went to SIE’s HR department.

If the complaint was made to SIE then swept under the rug, which is exactly what he alleged, then of course ND has no record of it.

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Even something as simple as “we have nothing officially recorded about such an incident but we will be conducting an internal review”

This exactly! There is just something so incredibly frustrating in the fact that a company of this public magnitude can’t even announce that something will be looked into. Just “nah man, can’t find any records about that. Case closed”

I just don’t see the point of it. I’m definitely not a lawyer but at least acknowledging that something should be looked in to can’t be incriminating, can it?

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It really really sucks that following the Neogaf incident everyone seems to have forgotten this. If not for listening to the Bombcast yesterday I don’t think I would have thought about it again…