As we learned last week of the departure of President J. Allen Brack and Human Resources Director Jesse Meschuk, heads seem to keep falling. In the midst of the turmoil, the company just announced the departure of three of its executives on Wednesday:
- Luis Barriga, who has so far been developing Diablo 4.
- Jonathan LeCraft Game Designer Senior sur World of Warcraft.
- Jesse McCree Lead Level Designer sur World of Warcraft.
Windows Central reporters received confirmation from a company spokesperson:
Blizzard confirms that Luis Barriga, Jesse McCree and Jonathan LeCraft are no longer with the company. We already have a full list of talented developers and new leaders have already been assigned. We are confident that we can continue to grow and provide our players with incredible experiences while moving forward to ensure a safe and productive work environment for everyone.
Although no official reason has yet been given, it is very likely that these departures are related to recent allegations.
In fact, McCree and LeCraft are among the characters in the infamous “Cosby Suite” photo.
A photo and screenshots that say it all
McCree and LeCraft aren’t the only ones in this photo. There is Alex Afrasiabi, who has already been fired from the company for harassment, but also someone named Cory Stockton.
The latter is still working as lead content designer World of Warcraft
Other people in this shot no longer work for Blizzard. However, you continue to practice in the video game industry. Here is the list:
- Greg Street, who is now the creative department of. directs League of Legends chez Riot Games.
- Paul Cazarez Level Designer at Zenimax Online Studios.
- David Kozak Creative Director at Deviation Games.
- Josh Mosqueira designer at Bonfire.
Street and Mosqueira both apologized publicly and tried to explain it clumsily. Cazarez and Kozak prefer to wall in silence for the time being. The judiciary may well consider having them appear in future court cases.
Sorry again for any pain I’ve caused or anything I haven’t done to make this industry a better place. I will try harder. I’m going to turn Twitter off for a couple of weeks so other voices can be heard. I listen and can be reached easily if necessary.
– Greg Street (@Ghostcrawler) July 29, 2021
You may have seen a picture of me today – in the now infamous Cosby Suite. I want to share everything I know about it, so that’s what I wrote (there is a content warning for clues to Cosby’s crime) https://t.co/pAtRvX1Rs0
– JOSH (@joshmosq) July 28, 2021
One of America’s largest investor unions occurs
On Tuesday, August 10th, the day before these “departures”, management received a very special letter. The SOC Investment Group, one of the most powerful unions in the United States, wanted to express its discontent. According to this association, the measures taken by Activision Blizzard are nowhere near enough.
Group managing director Dieter Waizenegger initially complains about the lack of real orientation:
No changes have been announced or proposed that would in any way change the current process for filling vacant positions on the Board of Directors or on the Executive Committee.
No changes have been announced with respect to executive compensation, neither in relation to the recovery of compensation from executives who have committed or allowed abusive practices, nor to align executives with corporate objectives.
Waizenegger continues to sharply criticize the decisions of the external actors selected to conduct the internal investigations.
Wilmer Hale’s choice to conduct the exam is mediocre and in several ways: This law firm has a reputation for defending the wealthiest and the most well-connected, but has no track record of investigating the matter. The lead investigator has no in-depth experience of investigations into harassment and abuse in the workplace, and the scope of the investigation does not cover all of mr. Kotick recognized issues of fairness.
The letter prompts Activision Blizzard to take the following actions:
Increase diversity and equity on the board by hiring a female director – preferably a woman with a track record of nurturing marginalized people and communities – by the end of 2021, committing to achieving balance on the board by 2025, and at least one Seat on the board of directors for a candidate chosen by the current employees to represent them.
Collect bonuses from executives who have committed or allowed abusive behavior. Do not allocate bonuses for 2021 and make future bonuses dependent on the company meeting clearly defined and independently verified milestones in terms of diversity and equity.
Conduct a company-wide fairness audit, similar to the goals of Racial Equity Audits conducted on Facebook, Air B&B, Starbucks, and BlackRock. This must encompass the full range of concerns (including fixed inequalities in terms of gender, gender identity, sexuality and race) raised by Mr Kotick, Activision Blizzard employees and customers, particularly about fairness and representation in game design, the development process , in user forums and similar settings.
The group leader concludes by emphasizing the imperative nature of the group’s requirements:
At this critical point in Activision Blizzard’s history, we urge you and the board of directors to go beyond management’s inadequate response and take the necessary steps to protect our investments from financial risk.
The tone is therefore suspicious and Kotick would do well to listen carefully to Waizenegger’s demands. Since the SOC is much more than an influential union, it is also a significant shareholder in Activision. It would be surprising if the recent departures were enough to dispel dissatisfaction, which seems to be growing a little each day on the part of employees and shareholders alike.