Blizzard co-founder and longtime boss Mike Morhaime took to Twitter shortly after midnight Friday to comment on the widespread accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination at the game company he ran for so long. “To the women at Blizzard who experienced any of these things, I am so sorry I failed you.” he wrote. “I hear you, I believe you, and I’m sorry I let you down.”
Morhaime helped found the World of warcraft Y Devil developer fresh out of college in 1991. Since then, it has become one of the world’s leading studios, producing hits in all genres such as Star boat, Hearthstone, Y Supervision. For much of that history, Morhaime was their leader, and their departure in 2018 go ahead and form the new game company called Dreamhaven was widely regarded as a major blow to Blizzard’s long-standing legacy.
But according to a complaint filed in California court earlier this week by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing following a two-year investigation, the “frat boy” workplace culture abounded in the company during Morhaime’s time as director. executive there.
Here is Morhaime’s statement in its entirety:
I have read the entire complaint against Activision Blizzard and many of the other stories. Everything is very disturbing and difficult to read. I am ashamed. It feels like everything you thought it represented has been erased. Worse, but more importantly, real people have been harmed and some women have had terrible experiences.
I was at Blizzard for 28 years. During that time, I worked hard to create an environment that was safe and welcoming for people of all genders and backgrounds. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but we were clearly far from that goal. The fact that so many women were abused and not supported means that we let them down. Also, we failed to make people feel safe 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 prevalent in our industry. It is the responsibility of leadership to make all employees feel safe, supported, and treated fairly, regardless of gender and background. It is the responsibility of leadership to eradicate toxicity and harassment in any form, at all levels of the company. For the women at Blizzard who experienced any of these things, I am so sorry that I failed you.
I realize these are just words, but I wanted to thank the women who had horrible experiences. I listen to you, I believe you and I’m sorry I let you down. I want to hear your stories, if you are willing to share them. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to help drive positive change and combat misogyny, discrimination, and harassment whenever I can. I believe that we can do better, and I believe that the gaming industry can be a place where women and minorities are welcomed, included, supported, recognized, rewarded, and ultimately unhindered from the opportunity to make the kinds of contributions. to which we all join. industry to do. I want the footprint I make in this industry to be something that we can all be proud of.
Since news of the allegations broke on July 21, former Blizzard developers have has been talking on social media about the harassment and abuse they experienced or witnessed. Current Developers they distanced of the company public and internal statements and asking you to make changes.
Activision Blizzard’s response so far has been to challenge the accuracy of the allegations by implying that they only reflect things of the past. “The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past,” said a company spokesman. Kotaku. “The picture DFEH paints is not today’s Blizzard workplace.”
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack emailed staff earlier this week calling the allegations “extremely worrying. “In this message, he failed to mention that he was personally named in the lawsuit as someone who failed to prevent another developer from serially sexually harassing co-workers. That developer, Alex Afrasiabi, contributed. World of warcraft as recently as 2020, and many NPCs and game items still reference him.. A video recording of Brack and Afrasiabi making condescending, sexist comments about a fan’s question at a 2010 BlizzCon panel. has also been circulating online, following a seemingly industry-wide reassessment of Blizzard’s history.
Obligations Manufacturer Activision acquired Blizzard in 2008 and, following the merger, formed a new parent company called Activision Blizzard. While both subsidiaries have largely operated separately, it is reported that Activision’s role in Blizzard’s day-to-day business grew after Morhaime’s departure in 2018.
Last year, Blizzard released a remaster of Warcraft 3 call WarCraft 3: Reforged that was so unpopular the company began offering refunds almost immediately. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Activision’s increased financial pressure is partly responsible for recent unusual failures like this one. Some of the new changes have reportedly included meetings that finance people suddenly attend that you wouldn’t normally be there before the company culture change. Several long-time Blizzard developers, including ex Supervision director Jeff Kaplan, have started to leave the company in recent years.
Dreamhaven, Morhaime’s latest company, has a mission statement that begins with the mission statement for highlight a wider variety of voices and “provide a safe space where developers, creators and players can connect in a meaningful way.”