Gayle d'Hondt has stepped down as head of HR at Bungie after 14 years, according to IGN. The move comes shortly after the same publication released a report with accounts by former and current Bungie employees painting a picture of a workplace culture that's both toxic and sexist. In some instances, HR personnel were reportedly unwilling to help complainants and actively protected harmful individuals.
In her email sent to employees and seen by IGN, d'Hondt said she wants to do "everything in [her] power to make sure everyone who works [at Bungie] has a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment." It's necessary, she added, for the company's HR team to move forward with membership "largely comprised of people new to Bungie." d'Hondt didn't say who would be replacing her, but she told employees in the email that the HR team needs "to be trusted to be [their] advocates — not labeled as 'enablers' or seen as company resources who provide bad actors with safe harbor." It's also unclear if d'Hondt is leaving the video game developer completely or just moving to a different role.
The former HR head mentioned about her own experience with an abuser at the company, as well: A male executive whom she thought was her friend. While she didn't name her abuser, she said Bungie eventually fired him. She concluded:
"I am proud of the work I did at this company. I believe I made recommendations that were in the best interest of our people and in service of the company we wish to become. I also believe we made some mistakes, and that to become the better version of ourselves — the company I know we can be – we have to acknowledge and confront them, in good faith, and grow together."
While IGN's report showed the company in a less-than-flattering light, it also showed how the studio is struggling to shake its toxic culture in an effort to foster a better one. In response to it, company CEO Pete Parsons published an apology letter, admitting that Bungie's "actions or, in some cases, inactions, caused these people pain." He also talked about the changes the company has made over the past few years to make it a better place for employees, including removing bad actors irrespective of their "tenure, seniority or interpersonal relationships."