Struck by the #MeToo revolt, the head of video game maker Blizzard Entertainment is out

Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press

Posted Tuesday, August 3, 2021, 4:11 p.m. EDT

Last updated Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 4:11 p.m. EDT

Blizzard Entertainment chairman of Activision steps down weeks after maker of video games like “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty” suffered a lawsuit for discrimination and sexual harassment in California as well as backlash from employees on their working environment.

The state sued Activision Blizzard Inc. last month, citing a “frat boy” culture that has become “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.”

The lawsuit alleges that female employees face constant sexual harassment, that few women are appointed to managerial positions and when they do, they earn less pay, incentive pay and total pay than their male peers.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent a letter to employees after the complaint was filed, saying the company was “taking swift action to be the compassionate and caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment “.

“There is nowhere in our business for discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind,” he wrote.

On Tuesday, it was announced that J. Allen Brack was leaving the company in a letter from Activision Blizzard President and COO Daniel Alegre to employees. Brack joined Blizzard in January 2006 and held several senior positions before being named president in October 2018, according to the company’s website.

The complaint alleges that as early as 2019, Brack learned of employees leaving the Santa Monica, Calif., Company due to widespread sexual harassment and sexism. He also alleged that employees contacted the company’s human resources department to complain about unfair pay and postings.

The complaint states that despite numerous complaints filed with human resources staff and executives, including Brack, no effective corrective action has been taken.

The lawsuit also claims that Brack only gave verbal advice, considered a “slap on the wrist”, to Alex Afrasiabi, former senior creative director of “World of Warcraft”. Afrasiabi is accused in the complaint of engaging in egregious sexual harassment and the state alleged that the company refused to deal with it because of his position.

Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra have been named co-leaders of Blizzard, sharing responsibility for the development and operational responsibility of the company, he said on Tuesday.

Oneal served as executive vice president of development at Blizzard, while Ybarra served as executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology.

“With their many years of experience in the industry and their deep commitment to integrity and inclusiveness, I am confident that Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion and dedication to excellence,” said writes Alegre.

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