Following the news of Blizzard president J. Allen Brack’s departure from the company, Activision Blizzard announced that Jesse Meschuk, Blizzard’s senior vice president of HR, also left (and took his Twitter account with him).
Under Meschuk, Blizzard’s HR department “undermined and discounted victims’ experiences, and did not protect their identities,” as reported by Axios. Moreover, it actively worked to “shield” offenders from any consequences.
In related news, a group of over 500 Activision, Blizzard and King employees calling itself the ABK Workers Alliance wrote a letter criticizing the company’s choice of law firm WilmerHale to conduct an internal review. According to the letter, “WilmerHale has a history of discouraging workers’ rights and collective action.” Elsewhere in the letter, the group said that CEO Bobby Kotick “did not meaningfully address our requests.”
On the same day, August 3, ahead of the company’s Q2 earnings call, a firm called Rosen Law filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of investors who traded in Activision Blizzard securities between August 4th, 2016 and July 27th, 2021. The lawsuit alleges that Kotick, along other executives, intentionally failed to to disclose the company’s ongoing problems with its workplace culture. As a result, “statements about Activision Blizzard’s business, operations, and prospects, were materially false and misleading,” which led investors to suffer damages (Activision Blizzard stock prices have been in decline since July 21 when the DFEH lawsuit was filed). Simply put, if investors had been informed of Activision Blizzard’s ongoing issues, they wouldn’t have invested. By the way, Rosen Law was one of the law firms that filed a class-action lawsuit against CDPR alleging that it also intentionally misled investors regarding the state of Cyberpunk 2077 prior to its release.
During Activision Blizzard’s quarterly earnings call, Kotick reiterated a “commitment to a safe working environment” and promised to take “swift action to ensure a safe and welcoming work environment for all employees.” We are yet to see how this works out, but installing new leadership at Blizzard, with Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal appointed as co-leaders, probably means Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will extend its control over Blizzard.
In a small update, Activision Blizzard’s chief compliance officer Fran Townsend also deleted her Twitter account.
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