The fallout from the California lawsuit alleging American-based video game publishers, Activision Blizzard being accused of fostering a “frat boy” culture in which female employees are allegedly subjected to unequal pay and sexual harassment” continues.
Following the walkout staged by Activision Blizzard employees and gamers online calling for the company to take some real action to address the allegations, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack has stepped down. Activision Blizzard announced to staff that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra would “co-lead” in his place.
“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. You’ll hear more from Jen and Mike soon.”
Oneal previously served as executive vice president of development, and Ybarra was led platform and technology at the company.
Brack also stated his departure on Blizzard’s website:
“I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”
Brack is a 15 year veteran at Blizzard served as president since October 2018, stepping into the role when then-president and -CEO Mike Morhaime decided to step down from the position. Before becoming President at Blizzard, Brack was best known as the World of Warcraft development team leader. Morhaime, who founded Blizzard in 1991, praised his replacement calling him “an inspiring leader who has shown unwavering commitment to Blizzard’s community.”
Activision Blizzard has been digging itself in a hole since California announced its lawsuit against the company. A statement issued by Blizzard called the lawsuit “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past” and only fueled the fires leading to employees to walk out. Brack and many other executives internally called the allegations “extremely troubling.”
Frances Townsend, an executive at Activision Blizzard and former George W. Bush homeland security adviser, called the lawsuit “truly meritless and irresponsible” in a statement. Thousands of employees responded by criticizing the statement and signing a letter calling for Townsend to step down as the executive sponsor of the women’s network. The walkout then ensued.
This situation is ongoing, and we will continue to monitor it as it develops.
Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Getty