Bungie apologizes after report highlights racist & sexist workplace culture
Bungie has apologized after a recent IGN report highlighted historic allegations of racism and sexism at the studio. Described as a “toxic workplace” which “cultivated a pervasive atmosphere in which women were inferior,” the studio behind Destiny 2 has promised to make more changes to stamp out the culture.
In the wake of Activision Blizzard’s scandal-filled 2021 with multiple allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation, Bungie is the latest studio to come under fire.
Bungie’s workplace culture was exposed in a December 10 report by IGN. The report primarily focused on the narrative team on Destiny 2, but touched on issues within all divisions at the company.
While the article didn’t name specific high-level developers at Bungie, numerous examples of racist and sexist behavior at the studio were highlighted, spanning years. This included sexual comments and harassment which “cultivated a pervasive atmosphere in which women were inferior.”
“Women were disproportionately talked over in meetings, had their ability to do their jobs questioned, had their ideas ignored and then used by men who later took credit for them, or simply had their questions or input dismissed,” the report stated.
“Several recounted stories of managers and leads making racist remarks or even using slurs to refer to more diverse Destiny characters or, in at least one instance, an individual at the studio.
“Several employees also witnessed discrimination against transgender individuals at the studio, including questions about which bathrooms they were using, refusal to use correct pronouns, and other inappropriate questions.”
However, the report noted Bungie had made in-roads into trying to fix its “toxic workplace culture.” This included creating a Diversity and Inclusivity committee, as well as giving employees anonymous internal methods to ask questions about the company’s practices.
This was echoed by Pete Parsons, Bungie’s CEO, in a December 10 statement released shortly after the IGN article.
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Parsons said “over the last several years, we have worked to make significant changes.” He did not dismiss IGN’s report and apologized to “anyone who has ever experienced anything less than a safe, fair, and professional working environment at Bungie.”
A message from Bungie’s CEO, Pete Parsons.https://t.co/LsBrYmZCyU pic.twitter.com/nYmGXuEt1p
— Bungie (@Bungie) December 10, 2021
“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. Our actions or, in some cases, inactions, caused these people pain,” he said.
“I apologize personally and on behalf of everyone at Bungie who I know feels a deep sense of empathy and sadness reading through these accounts.”
Parsons’ statement claimed Bungie increased the amount of “women and people from underrepresented communities” hired since 2018, with minority groups now making up 39% of Bungie’s workforce. This includes 42.5% at a leadership level.
He also said “we have removed bad actors from our studio without respect to their tenure, seniority, or interpersonal relationships,” and promised to take more action as new allegations come out in light of the report.
“I’m heartened by the progress we have made, but it is not enough, and it has taken too long. It also does not sweep away the bad experiences people have had at our studio,” Parsons admitted.
“As CEO, it is my job to factor both the past and the future and be accountable for all of it, here and now. Speaking with the team at Bungie, reading the stories, and seeing both known and newly surfaced accounts, it is clear we still have work ahead of us.”