Activision Blizzard claims that 20 employees have left the company since March due to ongoing investigations into workplace harassment. More than 20 employees have been disciplined. This is in response to California’s July bombshell lawsuit.
The letter from Frances Townsend, chief compliance officer, was distributed internally earlier in the week. It is now online. According to The Verge (via The Financial Times), the “exited” or disqualified employees list includes supervisors and game developers, but not board members. Townsend also writes that 19 new positions have been created within the Ethics and Compliance Team, responsible for investigating complaints.
Townsend wrote that she had received more reports via various channels in recent months. People are raising concerns from years ago to today. These reports are welcome, and our team has been investigating them using both internal and external resources. The initial reports are divided into different categories, and resources are used to prioritize the most important.
“In connection to various resolved reports, more then 20 individuals have left Activision Blizzard while more than 20 others were subject to other types of discipline action.”
Recent departures include Louis Barriga, Diablo 4’s game director, Jesse McCree, the lead designer at World of Warcraft and Jonathan LeCraft (who was named in California’s lawsuit). Alex Afrasiabi (ex-WOW creative director) was named in a California lawsuit. He left the company in 2020.
Activision Blizzard’s “fratboy culture” has been revealed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which filed a lawsuit against them in July. The lawsuits and investigations have been intense. The US Securities and Exchange Commission is currently investigating “the Company’s disclosures concerning employment matters and related issues.” However, the scandal has also led to everything ranging from employee walkouts to in-game name changes.