IGN aid post row: 71 staff members sign open letter to leadership

A group of IGN staff have sent an open letter to the leadership at IGN, and its parents Ziff Davis and J2 Global, to complain at a management decision to remove a post concerning aid to Palestinian civilians during the ongoing crisis in the middle east.

The original post offered a number of ways that IGN’s community could support those in need. However it was taken down “with no communication to its initial authors, the general IGN staff, or to the public as to why it happened,” claims the open letter.

The open letter has 71 signees at present from the IGN team, including staff both in the US and UK. The signees are concerned about what they describe as “corporate overreach” and a “blatant disregard for the most basic standards of journalistic integrity and editorial independence.”

Even putting to one side any possible political issues connected to the matter at hand, it does look as though IGN and/or its parents acted in a way that didn’t properly divide the business interests of the company from its editorial independence.

IGN has long engaged with its community when it comes to causes that some may paint as political, such as Black Lives Matter and AAPI Heritage Month, the letter points out. So there’s no been no clear line in the past about the team tackling and supporting what most would see as worthy causes (even if not all would agree with that viewpoint).

It goes on to note that the team was also not given proper notice that a formal statement concerning the matter would be put out on Twitter.

That statement noted that IGN had a track record of “supporting humanitarian efforts and charities.” But not that “In the instance of our recent post regarding how to help civilians in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict. Our philanthropic instincts to help those in need was not inline without intent of trying to show support for all people impacted by the tragic events.

“By highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side. That was not our intention and we sincerely regret the error.”

All of which, again putting aside any discussion of the rights/wrongs of the crisis, brings to question just who is speaking here, as it certainly isn’t the authors of the initial piece. And it looks as though senior management has failed to come to agreement with its frontline team.

Back to the open letter, it responds: “We recognize the concerns expressed by upper management, but are nonetheless gravely disappointed by the lack of respect shown to our content team and broader staff in this matter, and expect our leaders to take responsibility for their decisions.”

The signees want an all-hands meeting with senior management who made the decision, full transparency about the reasoning of the post removals, and management to work with staff to republish the piece.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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