Activision Blizzard has been rocked by allegations of widespread sexual harassment. A California state agency filed a lawsuit against it, alleging that women were subject to “constant” harassment at its Blizzard offices. Blizzard’s co-founder, former president and CEO Mike Morhaime made a Twitter statement apologizing to employees for the behavior he was accused of.
The statement begins with the words, “It’s all very disturbing and difficult for me to read.” “I am ashamed. It’s like everything I believed in has been swept away. Worse, but perhaps more important, real people were hurt, and some women experienced terrible experiences.
Morhaime stated that he tried very hard to make an environment safe and welcoming for all people during his 28-year tenure. However, the lawsuit revealed that the developer was far from this goal.
Morhaime writes that discrimination and harassment exist. They are common in our industry. Leadership must ensure that all employees feel safe, supported, treated fairly, regardless of their gender or background. Leadership must eliminate harassment and toxicity at all levels of the company. I’m deeply sorry for any Blizzard women who have experienced any of these.
Morhaime concludes by apologizing and asking women to share their stories. “I know these are just words, but it was important to acknowledge those women who have had terrible experiences. I understand you and I believe you. I’m so sorry that I let you down. If you’re willing to share your stories, I would love to hear them.
Former employees of Blizzard criticized Morhaime’s statements. Cher Scarlett was a former Blizzard software engineer and said that it was difficult for her to believe Morhaime didn’t know about “men who are in leadership being repeatedly excused from their behavior.”
Morhaime’s tweet was responded to by Connie Griffith, a game designer who quit Blizzard in 2011. She said, “While I appreciate Mike’s comment, I also know that you knew how toxic (for instance) the Robs were.” “I was there. I know that you knew on some level, but it didn’t matter to me.”
Kristin Woodpage, a former Blizzard developer posted a portion of a letter that she said she wrote to Morhaime in 2018 when Morhaime was still President/CEO.
Part of the letter states that “as long as men are acting in a predatory manner toward women in this company, it will prove impossible for women to feel safe, valued, and comfortable.” Wood-Page made a brief statement to PC Gamer, stating that the subject of her letter had “parted with Blizzard very soon after I sent this mail.”
Activision Blizzard’s executives have varied their responses to the lawsuit. They range from calling the allegations “disturbing” to calling them “meritless.” Over 20 current employees of Blizzard publicly rejected the company statements on Friday and showed solidarity with the plaintiffs. World of Warcraft players are protesting in-game and asking for the removal of any game content named after an alleged harasser.