Bungie CEO Responds To Report Of Toxic Workplace Culture
Bungie CEO Pete Parsons released a letter in response to the report of harassment and discrimination within the company.
Destiny 2 developer Bungie has released a statement in response to a report that the developer has struggled with issues of sexism and crunch in the workplace. A letter written by Bungie CEO Pete Parsons was released shortly after IGN published the report in which he focused on the changes Bungie has made in recent history, while acknowledging the company has more work to do and that these changes do not erase any pain employees have suffered.
The report, which includes statements and experiences from 26 current and former employees, most of which spoke anonymously, described a Bungie that had dealt with issues of abusive management across nearly every department since 2011. In many instances, department leaders and managers would belittle, overwork, and abuse people in their departments, often targeting women and people of color.
The report highlights the narrative team in particular, where writers were constantly facing crunch to get the next expansion out and were forced to deal with leadership that had a particular "vision" for the game that they refused to compromise on. Leadership would yell and throw objects during meetings, change writers' work as it was being taken to be recorded, and push back on any instance of having progressive writing, including one instance where the narrative team wanted to imply that a character was gay. Some employees' mental and physical health suffered due to the crunch at Bungie. These employees were later criticized and given poor reviews for taking time to deal with these issues.
The letter from Parsons does not deny or refute the report but instead focuses on the improvements Bungie has made in recent years.
"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. 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 wrote.
Parsons listed the changes made, including the removal of some of the bad actors at Bungie. However, he acknowledged that this can only occur when "brave people come forward." He also stated that Bungie has not always done this publicly nor has it done it as quickly as it should have. Parsons stated that based on the report, that many of the abusive and toxic individuals are nor longer at the company, but if new information comes to light they will investigate it.
Parsons pointed to the delayed releases of Shadowkeep, Beyond Light, and The Witch Queen for Destiny 2 as a way to lessen the amount of crunch at the studio and put the health of its employees first. Lastly, Parsons shared more information about the continued increase to the percentage of employees that are women and/or from under representative groups, linking to their September report on the matter.
Parsons also acknowledged in the letter that these improvements don't change what happened to employees in the past nor does it erase the suffering they experienced.
"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 wrote.
The full IGN report goes into great detail about the harassment and abuse occurring at Bungie across the company over the last decade.
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