Naughty Dog shrugs off sexual harassment allegations from former ‘Uncharted’ artist

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Sony Playstation shows the new game "Uncharted The Lost Legacy" as they demonstrate upcoming game releases during a news conference at E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 12, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake

A former Naughty Dog employee has accused the game developer of sexual harassment. The video game company, however, was quick to dismiss the claims.

Sexual harassment allegations vs Naughty Dog

David Ballard recently took to Twitter to post a series of tweets (see below) narrating his alleged experience. “In late 2015, I was sexually harassed at Naughty Dog by a lead,” he began. “My work environment became extremely toxic afterward.”

According to Ballard, he experienced a mental breakdown due to the incident, after which the HR department of Sony PlayStation had to step in. “When I told them about the harassment they ended the call and fired me the next day,” Ballard tweeted.

The former Naughty Dog employee also alleged that the company attempted to “silence” him with US$20,000 (AU$25,396.00) in exchange for accepting the termination and never divulging the alleged incident in public. “I declined to sign,” Ballard tweeted. “I have been unemployed for 17 months since.”

Ballard finished off his series of tweets by expressing support for the recent cases of people coming forward with experiences of sexual harassment in the media industry. “I will not let anyone kill my drive or love for the video game industry, my passions or life,” he ended.

David Ballard had worked for the company for six years as an environment artist. According to his LinkedIn page, he had contributed to Naughty Dog’s critically acclaimed titles “Uncharted 2,” “Uncharted 3,” “The Last of Us” and “Uncharted 4.”

Naughty Dog responds

Naughty Dog was quick to respond. In a written statement (see below), the company said it has “not found any evidence of having received allegations from Mr. Ballard that he was harassed in any way at Naughty Dog or Sony Interactive Entertainment.” The developer added that it takes sexual harassment reports seriously, and that it is of the “utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe, productive workplace environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making games.”

Gamers were also quick to give their two cents. Comments either showed support or expressed criticism against both parties.

Facebook user Joseph Flores, for instance, wrote, “Of course theres 'no evidence.' It was one of the Leads over at ND and when he finally went to Sony about it they fired him."

On the other hand, Max Gallardo posted, “I think I speak for everyone when I say, we know you're a professional company and know by now people try to take advantage every now and then. There's no problems from your fans/customers. Carry on.”

Naughty Dog is an American video game developer responsible for well-known titles such as the “Uncharted” and “Crash Bandicoot” series. It is yet to announce a release date for the sequel to “The Last of Us.”