Multiple former corporate figures at Blizzard have recently made public apologies to their old employees. These statements come after a lawsuit was filed by California’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment which called out Activision Blizzard for its misogynistic “frat boy” culture. These allegations have since caused a massive backlash from fans of Activision Blizzard titles, the gaming community as a whole, and even the general public.
Mike Morhaime, who was a founder and former CEO at Blizzard made an apology on July 24 via TwitLonger.
“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,” said Morhaime, speaking to the recent allegations. He explained that he had tried to create an inclusive environment for a diverse group of people during his 28 years at Blizzard.
“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.” Wrote Morhaime later in his statement.
Morhaime continued by acknowledging the often unwelcoming atmosphere for women and minorities in the gaming industry. “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.”
Chris Metzen, a former vice president of story and franchise development at Blizzard, took to Twitter on July 24 to make a statement.
This is later than it should have been. Here’s my response. pic.twitter.com/0h8iF6a1JR
— Chris Metzen (@ChrisMetzen) July 24, 2021
“I offer you my very deepest apologies for the part I played in a culture that fostered harassment, inequality, and indifference.” Said Metzen. Metzen took responsibility for allowing sexist behavior to occur at the company. “Friends and colleagues, people I have valued and admired for years, were directly harmed because I was not present enough to ask, to listen, to hear these stories when it mattered.”
“Words are cheap. Not sure what grand, sweeping promises really do either. Accountability starts with people. Not corporations, or platitudes or ‘values’ cast in iron around a statue,” Metzen concluded, saying that tangible steps must be taken to create a safe environment for women.
Current Activision Blizzard executives have not apologized and have stated that the accusations in the lawsuit are false.
More information will surely come to light in the following weeks. Stay tuned for updates on this matter.