Blizzard Entertainment president steps down after harassment allegations

Business

Employees of the video game company, Activision Blizzard, hold a walkout and protest rally to denounce the companys response to a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit and to call for changes in conditions for women and other marginalized groups, in , in Irvine, California, on July 28, 2021.  (Photo by DAVID MCNEW / AFP) (Photo by DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (NewsNation Now) —  The president of Blizzard Entertainment is resigning weeks after the maker of video games like “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty” was hit with a discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit along with backlash from employees over their work environment.

In a letter to employees Tuesday, Activision Blizzard President and COO Daniel Alegre announced that J. Allen Brack was leaving the company.

Last month, the state of California sued Activision Blizzard Inc. citing a “frat boy” culture that has become “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” The lawsuit states that female employees faced constant sexual harassment and that few women are named to leadership positions and when they are, they often earn less salary, incentive pay and total compensation than male counterparts.

The complaint also alleges that as far back as 2019, Brack had been told that employees were leaving the company because of rampant sexual harassment and sexism. It also alleged employees had approached the company’s human resources department with complaints of unfair pay and assignments.

The complaint says that despite multiple complaints to human resources personnel and executives including Brack, no effective remedial measures were taken.

The lawsuit claims that Brack only gave verbal reprimanding, deemed a “slap on the wrist,” to Alex Afrasiabi, former senior creative director for “World of Warcraft.” Afrasiabi is accused in the complaint of engaging in blatant sexual harassment, and the state alleged that the company refused to deal with it because of his position.

After the lawsuit was filed, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent a letter to employees reassuring that the company was taking swift action to be the “compassionate, caring and a safe environment.”

“There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind,” Kotick wrote.

Brack joined Blizzard in January 2006 and held multiple leadership roles before being named president in October 2018, according to the company’s website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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