Gaming network IGN is facing a staff revolt after senior management stepped in to delete, and apologise for, a post linking readers to charities and organisations in Palestine.
In an open letter signed by more than 70 of the publication’s journalists, staff have condemned the “blatant disregard for the most basic standards of journalistic integrity and editorial independence,” and called for the site’s owners, the US media conglomerate Ziff Davis, to explain who made the decision to remove the charity appeal.
On Friday, a post on the gaming website attributed to “IGN Staff” stated that “we want to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Palestine because, while there has been fighting in the region for decades, recent escalations have seen a catastrophic loss of Palestinian lives.”.
The post, which linked to charities such as Doctors Without Borders and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said that “Palestinian civilians are currently suffering in great numbers in Jerusalem, Gaza, and West Bank, due to Israeli forces”.
The post led to a wave of similar charitable drives from other publications, including GameInformer and Gamespot. But on Sunday, it was abruptly deleted, with a statement shared to IGN’s Twitter feed.
“Our philanthropic instincts to help those in need was not in line with our intent of trying to show support for all people impacted by tragic events,” the statement said. “By highlighting only one population, the post mistakenly left the impression that we were politically aligned with one side. That was not our intention and we sincerely regret the error.”
The apology angered staff at the publication. “We’ve posted multiple, similar charity appeals in the past, and received nothing but support from the ownership – even on so-called ‘contentious’ issues like the Black Lives Matter movement,” said one member of staff, who asked to remain anonymous.
“There was absolute shock among staff about not just the removal itself, but about how that removal (and the explanation for it) was handled,” they added. “For such drastic action to be taken was unusual enough, but for it to be done with no oversight from those who had written the post – and multiple hours of silence from those responsible, both internally and externally – was confusing and upsetting for many members of staff.”
As part of its apology for the post, IGN said it had donated $25,000 to Save the Children “to aid those civilian lives impacted across the entire area”.
“We will continue to look for ways to lend our support in productive helpful ways,” the apology concluded.