Dec 16, 2021 - Technology

Bungie HR head reportedly steps down

Image from Destiny

Image: courtesy of Bungie

The head of HR at Destiny creator Bungie is stepping down, following a report last week alleging sexism and systemic inequality at the studio.

Driving the news: IGN reports that Gayle d'Hondt is leaving her role as senior employee relations manager after more than 14 years with the company.

  • In an email to employees, per IGN, d'Hondt wrote that the company's people team needs to move forward with leadership "largely comprised of people new to Bungie."
  • "I know that they need to be trusted to be your advocates — not labeled as 'enablers' or seen as company resources who provide bad actors with safe harbor."
  • D'Hondt has apparently faced her own share of abuse during her time there. In her email, she says she reported "a man, an executive, and someone I thought was my friend at Bungie — which resulted in Bungie firing him."

Catch up quick: IGN published a report last week with details on culture problems within Bungie that included crunch, burnout and abusive leaders who created a workspace hostile to women, people of color and queer employees.

  • Employees also reportedly had problems with HR, leading to a "near-universal mistrust" of the department: "It's a well-known fact, if you talk to HR you're putting your own job on the line," one source told IGN.

The big picture: The report on Bungie follows this summer's earlier revelations about Activision Blizzard's culture of harassment and abuse.

  • Although the game industry regularly experiences MeToo moments as victims come forward on platforms like Twitter to tell their stories, the spotlight on major companies like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and others is pushing the discussion further than it's gone before.
  • At Activision Blizzard, employees are fighting to unionize in response to leadership's handling of its problems.

What's next: D'Hondt said she will work with Holly Barbacovi, the chief people officer, and the leadership team at Bungie “to determine what the appropriate next steps are."

  • It's unclear whether she'll remain at the company and, if so, in what capacity.
  • Bungie did not respond to requests for comment.
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