This paper presents a study of the deaf effect response to bad news reporting in an IT project management context. Using a mixed method approach that included both quantitative and qualitative data obtained through a laboratory experiment, our findings suggest that individuals turn a deaf ear to bad news reporting when bad news is received from a person who is not role prescribed to report bad news or is not perceived to be credible. Further, it was found that perceived message relevance and risk perception mediate these relationships. We also found that men are more willing to take risk, and also less likely to perceive risk compared to women in IT project escalation situations. Consequently, men are more likely to turn a deaf ear, thus causing IT project escalation to occur. In this paper, we discuss several implications of the findings of this study for both research and practice.