The primary of probably a number of dominoes has begun to fall at Blizzard in response to the surprising accusations not too long ago leveled on the firm. President J. Allen Brack, who had been with the corporate for over a decade and took over a management position following CEO Mike Morhaime’s departure in 2019, has departed the corporate, as announced by Blizzard today.
Brack has presided over two of Blizzard’s worst controversies: the latest accusations of sexual harassment as levied in a lawsuit from the state of California and the Blitzchung incident in late 2019, when knowledgeable Hearthstone was banned following his phrases of help for Hong Kong throughout a match broadcast. Brack apologized a few days later for a way rapidly Blitzchung’s punishment was levied and lowered it by half, issuing an announcement that solely mildly assuaged outraged followers.
Nonetheless, he appeared to climate that controversial storm pretty nicely, no less than till the DFEH lawsuit got here to mild. Whereas not particularly named as an abuser, Brack’s title did seem within the go well with, as he appeared to take inadequate measures to curb the poisonous tradition at Blizzard. His repute was additional broken by the unearthing of a video from BlizzCon panel in 2010 the place a feminine gamer requested a panel of builders, together with Brack, if the feminine characters in World of Warcraft may look much less like they’ve “stepped out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog.” Brack and the others laughed on the query and made enjoyable of it as they requested “which catalog would you want them to step out of?” (By the way, Kotaku recently caught up with the lady within the video to get her tackle the incident.)
Taking Brack’s place, to a level, would be the pair of Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who “will co-lead Blizzard shifting ahead.” Oneal has been with the corporate since January, when she arrived from Vicarious Visions, which is now part of Blizzard. Ybarra joined Blizzard in 2019, coming over from the Xbox crew, and he’s been “overseeing the evolution of Battle.internet and our growth providers group.” The pair “will share duties over recreation growth and firm operations.”
There’s nonetheless a lot extra work to be completed on Blizzard’s, and Activision’s, facet of issues. Whereas the dismissal of Brack is likely to be seen as a step in the appropriate route, there are elementary points on the core of the Activision Blizzard company construction that have to be addressed. The problems talked about within the lawsuit go nicely past one or two folks, and till these are addressed, this token motion will generate solely the smallest measure of goodwill.
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