Earlier this month, IGN published a damning report on Bungie’s work culture after interviewing 26 of the studio’s staff. Those interviewed, both current and former employees, complained of pervasive sexism and “boys’ club culture,” heavy crunch, and protection of abusers. “It’s a well-known fact, if you talk to HR you’re putting your own job on the line,” one employee was quoted as saying. “HR has never been there to protect employees. They’ve always been there to protect the company. I’ve watched it happen a few times at Bungie, where someone went to HR and things went completely sideways for them.”
Following the report, Bungie’s CEO Pete Parsons apologized. “Speaking with the team at Bungie,” he said, “reading the stories, and seeing both known and newly surfaced accounts, it is clear we still have work ahead of us.” Now, according to a company email obtained by IGN, the studio’s head of HR Gayle d’Hondt has stepped down from her position.
In the email, d’Hondt reportedly explained that Bungie’s HR team needed fresh blood to be seen as trustworthy. “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,” the email is quoted as saying.
IGN also quotes a mention of dHondt’s 14 years of work at the company including challenges like reporting someone for abusing her personally, “a man, an executive, and someone I thought was my friend at Bungie — which resulted in Bungie firing him.”
Whether d’Hondt will remain at the studio in a different capacity is unknown.