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[Updated] IGN Employees Pen Open Letter Over Removed Article

May 18, 2021

By: Brian Renadette

 
 

Last Friday, IGN published an article to provide support for a humanitarian crisis in Palestine due to sustained military attacks and heavy casualties from the Israeli Defense Force.

However, that article was shortly removed, and a tweet posted on Monday said that "by highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side" and it was "not our intention and we sincerely regret the error." Sources from various sites say that this tweet wasn't penned by IGN's editorial team or even given approval by them, but by J2 Global, the parent company of IGN, and the employees at IGN are not happy about this.

 

Yesterday evening, on the blog-publishing website Medium, a user known as "Employees of IGN," released an open letter to the leadership at IGN, J2 Global, and Ziff Davis, criticizing their decision to overrule the call for aid. They report that their original post was shared by thousands and they were proud to be able to use their visibility to help those in need. Their article was removed, they claim, without any communication to the authors, general staff, or public, and went against the company's policy of providing an explanation. After a company-wide meeting yesterday, they've come to conclude that this was "a clear instance of corporate overreach and demonstrated blatant disregard for the most basic standards of journalistic integrity and editorial independence." Furthermore, they also worry that corporate's statement turns an attempt to help citizens affected by war into a "both sides" issue for something that shouldn't be considered controversial.

 

 
 

The employees, which include over 70 signed names that also represent a broad swath of the company's internal teams, call for an all-hands meeting that includes IGN's upper management and those who had a hand in the decision to get full transparency about the decision to remove the post. In addition, they want management to recognize and respect IGN's editorial autonomy and authority, and have the original article re-published. "We are a team of creators who love what we do and take pride in our work," they conclude, and they hope management recognizes their mistakes so IGN can continue to be a trusted name in news, unfettered by restraining corporate interests.

Meanwhile, some of the other branches of IGN are throwing in their two cents about the situation. IGN Israel condemned the original post's "misleading and confusing" donation campaign, saying they had no part or awareness of it and reaffirming their support for the state of Isreal and the Israeli Defense Force (it's worth noting that many of IGN's international branches, including IGN Israel, are licensed to different companies.) This post was eventually taken down as well, hours after the IGN US one was. The original article also briefly appeared on IGN Africa and IGN France. The Africa version was removed, reposted, and then removed again, while the France version was translated and published before being removed by "license owners" while the company's managing editor was away

 
 

Update May 18 11:02 AM: IGN Israel posted a follow-up to their original statement, which can be read in full below:

A follow-up statement from IGN Israel over IGN's article.