Blizzard co-founder and former president wrote a Twitlonger about the recent lawsuit filed against Activision-Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employments and Housing. He says he is “extremely sorry that I failed you.”
“The fact that so many women were mistreated and were not supported means we let them down,” he wrote. “In addition, we did not succeed in making it feel safe for people to tell their truth. It is no consolation that other companies have faced similar challenges. I wanted us to be different, better.”
Blizzard wasn’t different or better
The lawsuit went into detailed of how female employees were subject to extreme harassment, including “cube crawls” where male employees would go from cubicle to cubicle while drinking to make jokes and comments about their female coworkers appearances.
One woman committed suicide on a business trip with a male supervisor, who she previous had a relationship with. He brought “butt plugs and lubricant” along with him according to the suit.
Oh god, I'd not seen this before. It's heartbreaking.
Here's a 2010 Blizzcon panel in which a fan was brave enough to ask a panel full of men, including J. Allen Brack (left) & Alex Afrasiabi (right) whether there's scope for some of WoW's female characters to be less sexualised pic.twitter.com/Elaf3K7KVc
— Chris Bratt (@chrisbratt) July 23, 2021
Morhaime’s spent 28 years of his career at Blizzard, including the merger with Activision before leaving to start a new company, DreamHaven. It’s clear that many of the problems listed in the suit happened while Morhaime was in charge.
A video circulating social media shows a fan at BlizzCon 2010 asking for future World of Warcraft characters to be less sexualized. The panel, including current President of Blizzard J. Allen Brack and Alex Afrasiabi (who was notable with his blatant sexual harassment), a former creative director on World of Warcraft, simply laughed her away.
Current and former Blizzard employees sound off
While Activision-Blizzard executive have called the lawsuit both “distorted,” “untrue” and “disturbing” all at the same time, current and former employees have come out to share their stories of harassment. Some replied directly to Morhaime on Twitter.
“Taking responsibility and apologizing for your role in this is paramount, Mike, and I really appreciate it,” said former Blizzard employee Cher Scarlett. “When things got really bad in bnet–many of us felt abandoned by you.”
Scarlett went on to say that she couldn’t believe that Morhaime didn’t enable all the abuse carried out by men in leadership positions, including Afrasiabi.