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Blizzard's President J. Allen Brack Is Stepping Down Amid A Discrimination Lawsuit

The World of Warcraft and Overwatch maker was hit with allegations of harassment and discrimination toward women from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Posted on August 3, 2021, at 10:26 a.m. ET


Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack has stepped down from his role after an explosive lawsuit said that women at the company have allegedly faced discrimination and harassment at work.

Activision Blizzard announced Tuesday morning that Brack will be replaced by both Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra. Oneal joined Blizzard in January as executive vice president of development, and Ybarra has been the executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology since 2019.

"I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change," Brack said in a statement shared by Blizzard.

"I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”

It's unclear whether Brack is remaining at the company in a different capacity. Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

In a statement, Blizzard said both new leaders "are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust."

Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Several hundred Activision Blizzard employees staged a walkout.

Last month, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard after a two-year investigation. They alleged that the company enabled a "frat boy" culture that included an environment of sexual harassment toward women employees. The lawsuit also detailed allegations of women who said they faced discrimination for being mothers and lost out on compensation and promotions. The lawsuit said one woman died by suicide on a company trip after allegedly being subject to sexual harassment, including having nude photos of herself passed around by colleagues.

Blizzard said the allegations included "distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past."

Activision Blizzard's titles include Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Candy Crush Saga.

David Mcnew / AFP via Getty Images

The allegations have rippled across the gaming community, with streamers criticizing the company and one prominent creator saying he would no longer cover the World of Warcraft.

Employees have also spoken out, and on July 28, they staged a walkout in protest of the company's response to the allegations. Organizers asked gamers to use the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout and donate to organizations that support women and people of color in tech.

Some players also staged an in-game, organized logout in World of Warcraft in solidarity.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.