Destiny 2 developer Bungie’s head of HR Gayle d’Hondt is stepping down from her position. The announcement came just five days after IGN published an investigation into Bungie’s toxic workplace culture, which claims Bungie HR is a part of the problem.
Change in the air — In an email to Bungie employees, d’Hondt announced her departure from her role. After 14 years at the company, d’Hondt’s abrupt departure is due to the ongoing controversy. “I know that [HR reps] 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 said in her resignation email.
She also mentioned that during her time at Bungie, she has terminated employees for “bad behavior, and for discrimination, racism, and sexual harassment” and faced harassment herself. D’Hondt recalled having to report her own abuser, who was “a man, an executive, and someone I thought was my friend at Bungie — which resulted in Bungie firing him.”
A long history — IGN’s report on Bungie incorporated accounts of 26 current and prior Bungie employees, who claimed the gaming company had been overrun for years with “overt sexism, boys’ club culture, crunch, and HR protection of abusers, as well as more complex stories of microaggressions, systemic equalities, and difficulties in being heard.”
Narrative concerns — According to the report, Bungie’s non-lead writing staff were largely dismissed by HR after reporting that they were suppressed for advocating for more diverse characters, relationships and storylines. Among other examples, “higher up male narrative team members wanted to portray women in ways that were degrading, tone deaf, or casually sexist.”
Victim blaming — When non-lead writers raised concerns, they were told they weren’t being supportive and were “difficult to work with.” One writer was even told that she couldn’t be promoted because she “wasn’t good enough at the game.” IGN reported that Bungie HR dismissed the writers’ concerns and told them to make amends, only acting when the entire female writing staff threatened to quit. The investigation also alleges that “long-serving HR employees” actively protected abusers.
Bungie’s CEO Pete Parsons has released a statement offering an apology and listed a number of initiatives and changes the company has made this year.