Published in Gaming

Activision Blizzard purging employees over harassment and misconduct

by on18 January 2022

37 fired and 44 have been disciplined

Since July Activision Blizzard has fired 37 employees and disciplined another 44 as the games maker tries to address accusations of harassment and misconduct.

The games publisher was supposed to share a summary of that information publicly before the holidays but embattled CEO Bobby Kotick pulled the plug on that over concerns it would make Activision's woes seem even worse (although this allegation has been denied by the company).

Activision was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The agency alleged the company fostered a "frat boy" culture where discrimination and sexual harassment were rife.

Former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, who was accused in the DFEH suit of taking "no effective remedial measures" to mitigate sexual harassment, left the company soon after the filing. Activision Blizzard's top HR executive Jesse Meschuk has departed, as have Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga, lead designer Jesse McCree (after whom an Overwatch character was previously named), and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft.

In November, the WSJ reported that Kotick had known about many of the worst instances of abuse for years and that he may have protected some employees who were accused of harassment.

Several Activision Blizzard partners have condemned the company or reassessed their relationships with it too. PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo chiefs criticized the company in notes to their employees. Xbox head Phil Spencer said last week that Microsoft has "changed how we do certain things with" Activision, but didn't share details. Also this month, Lego postponed an Overwatch 2 set that was supposed to arrive in February while it evaluates its partnership with Activision Blizzard.


Last modified on 18 January 2022
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