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This article was published on August 3, 2021

Blizzard president leaves company in wake of harassment lawsuit

The company has been accused of sexual discrimination

Blizzard president leaves company in wake of harassment lawsuit
Thomas Macaulay
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Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC. Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC.

Blizzard president J. Allen Brack is leaving the company in the wake of damning allegations of discrimination and harassment at the studio.

Brack will be replaced by a leadership team of Jen Oneal, the former head of Vicarious Visions, and Mike Ybarra, who was previously an executive at Xbox.

The duo will share responsibilities over game development and company operations, Blizzard announced in a statement:

Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion, and a dedication to excellence.

Brack’s departure comes just weeks after the State of California filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush.

An investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing found the company fostered a “frat boy” culture and discriminated against women in pay and hiring.

Brack had previously responded to the allegations in a letter in employees:

While I can’t comment on the specifics of the case as it’s an open investigation, what I can say is that the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.

Staff went on to organize a strike in protest over the studio’s response. The fallout has drawn comparisons with the 2014 Gamergate scandal.

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