Former Blizzard CEO Says Allegations are 'Disturbing and Difficult to Read' - NewsWilliam D'Angelo , posted on 02 August 2021 / 1,745 Views
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over what is described as a "frat boy" culture at the video game giant. Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, according to the lawsuit.
Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime who worked at the company for for nearly 30 years, before he left in 2018, has read the allegations and finds it "very disturbing" and is "ashamed."
"I have read the full complaint against Activision Blizzard and many of the other stories," Morhaime said. "It is all very disturbing and difficult to read. I am ashamed. It feels like everything I thought I stood for has been washed away. What’s worse but even more important, real people have been harmed, and some women had terrible experiences.
"I was at Blizzard for 28 years. During that time, I tried very hard to create an environment that was safe and welcoming for people of all genders and backgrounds. I knew that it was not perfect, but clearly we were far from that goal.
"The fact that so many women were mistreated and were not supported means we let them down. In addition, we did not succeed in making it feel safe for people to tell their truth. It is no consolation that other companies have faced similar challenges. I wanted us to be different, better.
"Harassment and discrimination exist. They are prevalent in our industry. It is the responsibility of leadership to keep all employees feeling safe, supported, and treated equitably, regardless of gender and background. It is the responsibility of leadership to stamp out toxicity and harassment in any form, across all levels of the company. To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.
"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. I want to hear your stories, if you are willing to share them. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to help drive positive change and to combat misogyny, discrimination, and harassment wherever I can.
"I believe we can do better, and I believe the gaming industry can be a place where women and minorities are welcomed, included, supported, recognized, rewarded, and ultimately unimpeded from the opportunity to make the types of contributions that all of us join this industry to make. I want the mark I leave on this industry to be something that we can all be proud of."
California filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court after a two-year investigation. The lawsuit states leadership at Activision Blizzard has failed to address the issues of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
The female employees are subjected to "pervasive frat boy workplace culture," which includes "cube crawls." This is when employees "drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees."
A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at email@example.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.