Blizzard co-founder and longtime boss Mike Morhaime took to Twitter just after midnight on Friday for the widespread allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at the game company he’s headed for so long. “To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am very sorry I let you down.” he wrote. “I hear you, I believe you and I’m so sorry for failing you.”
Morhaime helped found the World of Warcraft and Diablo Developer right out of college in 1991. Since then it has grown into one of the most famous studios in the world, producing hits in every genre like Stars ship
But after a complaint Filed in the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing earlier this week after a two-year investigation, a “frat boy” workplace culture was prevalent in the company during Morhaime’s tenure as CEO there.
Here is Morhaime’s full statement:
I’ve read the full Activision Blizzard Complaint and many of the other stories. It’s all very disturbing and difficult to read. I am ashamed. It feels like everything I thought I stood for has been washed away. What’s worse, but more important, is that real people have been harmed and some women have had terrible experiences.
I was with Blizzard for 28 years. During this time, I have worked very hard to create a safe and welcoming environment for people of all genders and backgrounds. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but we were clearly far from that. The fact that so many women have been mistreated and unsupported leaves them in the lurch. In addition, we have not been able to make people feel confident that they are telling their truth. It is no consolation that other companies have faced similar challenges. I wanted us to be different, better.
There is harassment and discrimination. They are widespread in our industry. It is the responsibility of managers to ensure that all employees, regardless of gender and background, feel safe, supported and treated equally. It is the responsibility of management to eliminate toxins and nuisances in all forms at all levels of the company. To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am very sorry I let you down.
I realize these are just words, but I wanted to acknowledge the women who had terrible experiences. I hear you, I believe you and I’m so sorry for failing you. I want to hear your stories when you are ready to share. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to drive positive change and fight misogyny, discrimination and harassment wherever I can. I believe we can do better, and I believe the gambling industry can be a place where women and minorities are welcomed, included, supported, recognized, rewarded and ultimately unhindered from the ability to make the kind of contributions which we all join in making industry. I want the mark I make in this industry to be something we can all be proud of.
Since the news of the allegations became known on July 21, former Blizzard developers have spoke on social media about the harassment and abuse they have experienced or have experienced. Current developers have distanced themselves by the company public and internal statements and calls for changes.
Activision Blizzard’s response so far has been to question the veracity of the allegations by suggesting that they only reflect things from the past. “The DFEH contains distorted and in many cases incorrect descriptions of Blizzard’s past,” said a company spokesman Kotaku. “The picture that the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today.”
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack emailed staff earlier this week calling out the allegations.extremely disturbingIn that message, he did not mention that he was personally identified in the lawsuit as someone who did not prevent another developer from serially sexually harassing female employees. This developer, Alex Afrasiabi, contributed to this World of Warcraft not until 2020, and many NPCs and in-game items still refer to him. A video recording of Brack and Afrasiabi making sexist and condescending remarks about a female fan question at a 2010 BlizzCon panel also makes the rounds online, after what appears to be an industry-wide re-evaluation of Blizzard’s history.
call of Duty The manufacturer Activision acquired Blizzard in 2008 and founded a new parent company called Activision Blizzard after the merger. Although both subsidiaries have functioned largely separately, the role of Activision in the day-to-day business of Blizzard is intended grew after Morhaime’s departure in 2018.
Last year Blizzard released a remaster of Warcraft 3 called WarCraft 3: Reforged that was so unpopular the company began offering refunds for it almost immediately. Accordingly a recent report from Bloomberg, Activision’s increased financial pressure is partly responsible for the recent atypical flops like this one. Some of the new changes have reportedly been included Meetings suddenly attended by financiers which normally would not have been there before the company’s culture change. Several longtime Blizzard developers, including former Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan, have started to leave the company in recent years.
Dreamhaven, Morhaime’s newest company, has a mission statement that starts with specifying goals highlight a greater variety of voices and “provide a safe space where developers, creators and players can interact in meaningful ways”.