IGN staff denounce management over removed Palestine charity post

Posted on May 19, 2021

The IGN staff and editorial team have made their frustrations publically known after upper management removed a post that was linking readers to charity pages helping ease the suffering in Palestine. An open letter signed by over 70 IGN staff was written and addressed to IGN leadership as well as parent companies Ziff Davis and J2 Global. The letter was bold and direct, stating that the staff of IGN are “appalled by the recent management decision to subvert our editorial autonomy and remove our post directing aid to the Palestinian civilians currently suffering a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.”

The original post in question linked to charities such as Doctors Without Borders and United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Whilst typically a gaming media site, IGN are known to highlight charitable causes on occasion and their size and influence make them a fantastic platform to do so. In fact, in the wake of IGN’s initial post, many other gaming outlets joined the cause and shared stories of their own linking to similar charities. The IGN staff were then surprised and disappointed when they had realised their post had been removed by upper management, without any information or discussion with the editorial team, seemingly removing the autonomy they believed they had.

“In our original post, we offered our readers ways to support charities that help injured and sick children, supply educational resources and food assistance to victims, and provide emergency medical relief for those wounded or displaced by the conflict. We feel these efforts should not be controversial. All humans deserve access to these basic rights, and it is important for those with means to offer aid in times of humanitarian crisis.”

“Our original post was shared by thousands of people, and because of IGN’s size and reach, we were able to serve as a leader for much of the rest of the industry to also help support those whose lives are torn apart by this conflict. We were proud to be part of a team at a site that was able and willing to offer this level of visibility to such critical humanitarian support efforts.”

“This decision to take down the post was made a day and a half after it was published. The takedown took place in the early hours of the morning on a weekend with no communication to its initial authors, the general IGN staff, or to the public as to why it happened. IGN’s editorial team has guidelines about updating content deemed needful of changes, something that we’ve done multiple times in the past — but wholesale removal of pieces without posting an explanatory statement is expressly against our usual policy.”

The decision to remove the charity post without communication understandably frustrated the IGN staff, although what upper management did to address these frustrations certainly didn’t help. After the post was removed but before the open letter was written, IGN staff flagged the issue in an internal Slack before a late-night email was sent out regarding the post’s removal. A statement was also made to the official IGN Twitter account that misrepresented the IGN staff and attributed the removal of the post as a decision made by IGN as a whole, rather than specifically those in upper management and/or parent companies.

“Following an IGN-wide meeting this morning, we have come to understand that this was a clear instance of corporate overreach and demonstrated blatant disregard for the most basic standards of journalistic integrity and editorial independence. The business interests of a publication’s ownership and its editorial staff should stay separate at all times.”

The powerful open letter signed by, at the time of writing, 79 IGN staff, laments upper management’s decisions and calls for instant change, transparency and re-publishing of the original article. Fears over losing their editorial independence feel incredibly valid but the removal of a charitable post such as this also feels needlessly political. Nobody wants to see politics getting in the way of providing humanitarian relief.

The IGN staff who publically penned their name to this open letter are undeniably brave and we hope a resolution can be found.