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July 23, 2021
3 Min Read
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack has, at least internally, addressed the sizable harassment and discrimination lawsuit levied against Activision Blizzard by the State of California.
Bloomberg's Jason Schreier shared the text of the email sent to Blizzard staff members by Brack the day after the lawsuit was made public. In that message, the Blizzard president affirmed that the acts described in the lawsuit are "completely unacceptable" and encourages Blizzard staff to reach out with their concerns, either to leadership or external resources.
"I personally have a lot of emotions coming out of yesterday, and I know you do, too. The allegations and the hurt of current and former employeesare extremely troubling," writes Brack. "I know many of you would like to receive more clarity. 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."
Brack goes on to state that staff at Blizzard should feel safe working at the company, regardless of if that work takes place in the office, at home, or at an event like BlizzCon, and that it is "completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment." He notes that Blizzard investigates all claims brought to its attention, either internally or externally, and that claims should be made without the fear of retaliation.
"...the fight for equality is incredibly important to me. People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community. I disdain 'bro culture', and have spent my career fighting against it," writes Brack. "Iterating on our culture with the same intensity that we bring to our games is imperative, with our values acting as our North star.
Brack's email adds that the leadership team at Blizzard will be meeting with many employees "to answer questions and discuss how we can move forward." However, it is important to note that Brack's name does appear in the lawsuit in descriptions of another Blizzard employee's alleged persistent harassment of women working at Blizzard.
"Numerous complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation were made to Defendants' human resources personnel and executives, including to Blizzard Entertainment's President J. Allen Brack. But Defendants failed to take effective remedial measures in response to these complaints," reads the lawsuit. "Employees were further discouraged from complaining as human resource personnel were known to be close to alleged harassers. An internal investigation into the human resource unit noted that there was a "big lack of trust" and that "HR not held in high regard."
One portion of the lawsuit alleges that Alex Afrasiabi, former senior creative director of World of Warcraft, sexually harassed multiple women working at Blizzard during events like BlizzCon. That account specifically mentions Brack, alleging that Afrasiabi's behavior was brought to his attention on multiple occasions but that Brack responded with only verbal warnings. According to the suit, verbal correction did little to stop Afrasiabi's behavior.
Activision Blizzard itself has also publicly pushed back against the content of the lawsuit, arguing in a statement that "includes distorted, and in many cases false descriptions of Blizzard's past" and that "in cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue."
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