Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack stepped down from his position yesterday, leaving the Overwatch and World Of Warcraft developers. But he wasn't the only executive to make a departure - Jesse Meschuk, Blizzard's now-former senior vice president of HR, has also left the company. All of this follows a lawsuit that alleged Activision Blizzard's company culture created a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women".
As reported by Bloomberg, Meschuk was a top HR representative and senior people officer at Blizzard. An Activision Blizzard spokesperson told the outlet he left "this week".
While Meschuk isn't named in the lawsuit, the filing claims that complaints made to higher ups in the HR department, as well as Brack himself, were allegedly "treated in a perfunctory and dismissive manner and not kept confidential". This supposedly led to retaliation, from employees being removed from projects, to layoffs. The lawsuit also alleged that staff were "discouraged from complaining as human resources personnel were known to be close to alleged harassers."
In a new report from Axios, a number of current and former employees have come forward about their experiences with the company's HR department, claiming they "undermined and discounted victims' experiences". The staff provide multiple examples of times HR representatives "bullied, belittled, or showed skepticism after being informed of alleged harassment or assault."
These departures follow comments from Activision Blizzard's CEO Bobby Kotick, who said last week that they were "immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the company" and "anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated." You can read his full letter on The Verge.
During Activision Blizzard's earnings call last night, Kotick doubled down on these comments too, saying "people will be held accountable for their actions." Throughout the call, Kotick and other executives continued to stress this sentiment.
This all started on July 21st, when it surfaced that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) were suing Activision Blizzard after a two-year investigation into the company revealed an alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination. Over the last week or so, the company made public and internal responses to the lawsuit claiming that the information in it was "distorted, and in many cases false", with further dismissive comments from Brack and company executive Frances Townsend. Thousands of current and former employees have since signed a letter condemning their "abhorrent and insulting" comments, and on Wednesday last week staff held a walkout in protest of Activision Blizzard's working conditions.