Several Activision Blizzard employees have criticised the company on social media for its response to allegations of harassment and discrimination. Earlier this week, the State Of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard which alleged the company has a “frat boy” culture that has created “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women”.
In a statement, Activision Blizzard called the Department Of Fair Employment And Housing which brought the suit “unaccountable State bureaucrats”, and said the allegations were “distorted, and in many cases false.” Some Activision Blizzard employees, including senior developers on World Of Warcraft, are reportedly “fuming” at the response.
Yesterday, emails from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack and executive Fran Townsend were sent to staff, and shared with Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier.
Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend, who was the Homeland Security Advisor to George W. Bush from 2004-2007 and joined Activision in March, sent out a very different kind of email that has some Blizzard employees fuming. pic.twitter.com/BxGeMTuRYF
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 23, 2021
Brack’s email calls the allegations “extremely troubling”, but Townsend’s rejects them completely, outlining the company’s “hard-line approach to inappropriate or hostile work environments” and calling the lawsuit “truly meritless and irresponsible.”
“I’m unhappy with the corporate response up to this point,” wrote one Blizzard game designer on Twitter. “I don’t feel it represents me or what I believe in.”
“I stand with the AB victims & believe their stories,” wrote another employee. “To claim that these stories are ‘factually incorrect’ or ‘untrue’ is a slap in the face to current & former employees, & does not represent my core values.”
“Really hope that Blizzard puts out a statement on this situation that I actually agree with and can support, and not more legal defense posturing,” wrote another. “Because the stuff said so far is unacceptable and doesn’t represent me. And I know I’m not alone in feeling that way here.”
Several other employees criticised the corporate dismissal of the allegations, while pledging to support their colleagues and those speaking out.
Blizzard co-founder and former president Mike Morhaime, who stepped down in 2018, also released a statement via TwitLonger. “To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you,” it read in part. “I realize that these are just words, but I wanted to acknowledge the women who had awful experiences. I hear you, I believe you, and I am so sorry to have let you down.”