Today, the IGN editorial staff published an open letter decrying Sunday’s removal of an IGN article and its associated tweet that linked to charities supporting Palestinian victims of recent Israeli violence.
The article and tweet, posted on May 15 in response to violent military strikes against the people of Gaza by the Israel Defence Force, were taken down on May 16 without the IGN editorial staff’s permission or involvement.
IGN didn’t release a public statement about the removal until early the next morning, nearly 12 hours later. According to the eventual statement, the content was removed because it was “not in-line with our intent of trying to show support for all people impacted by tragic events,” and that, “by highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side.”
Sources tell us IGN editorial staff was enraged over both the removal of its article showing solidarity with the Palestinian people and the subsequent statement from IGN corporate. Today, they published an open letter on Medium signed by more than 60 IGN staff members:
An open letter to J2, Ziff Davis, and IGN concerning the unilateral take down of a post with charitable resources for Palestinian civilians
— Kat Bailey (@The_Katbot) May 17, 2021
In the letter, IGN staff said they were “appalled” by management’s 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 letter called management’s removal of the article “a clear instance of corporate overreach.”
Kotaku has contacted IGN inquiring about the letter.
This message from staff comes after a difficult weekend for IGN’s editorial staff. Sources told Kotaku that staff spent most of Sunday unaware exactly why the Palestinian charity post was removed — or if company higher-ups were even going to make an official statement on the matter. Today, tensions remain high. IGN staffers have responded by taking matters into their own hands, linking followers to Palestine-related charities and an archived version of IGN’s now-removed post.
Today, Waypoint reported on a “contentious” morning editorial meeting at which IGN executive vice president and COO Peer Schneider apparently said little, arguing that, “the issue was the charity article choosing a side in an ongoing ‘war.’” Schneider reportedly could not offer an answer when an employee inquired as to whether IGN parent company J2 Global was motivated to perform the takedown by investments it has in Israel.
IGN is the biggest gaming news site in the world, so when it published an article directly supporting the people of Palestine, it was seen by many observers as a watershed moment in Western games media and Western media in general. Following IGN’s article, a number of smaller and larger outlets and creators shared similar stories and tweets in support of the Palestinian people.
Additional reporting by Nathan Grayson.