J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard, steps down from his position as the company faces a lawsuit regarding sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.
In these past few weeks, several employees and ex-members of Activision Blizzard opened up about the sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination within the company.
According to California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit, Activision Blizzard allowed a “frat bro” culture within the company. Male employees would regularly comment on their women coworkers’ appearances and groped them. The company would also allow “cube crawls”. During these, employees would drink “copious amounts” of alcohol and behave inappropriately toward women in the office.
This constant sexual harassment even led to the suicide of a female employee. She took her life on a company trip after being subjected to intense sexual harassment.
J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard, was one of the individuals named in the lawsuit. He was allegedly aware of this behavior within the company and did nothing to stop it. This includes Alex Afrasiabi’s “Cosby Suit,” a room named after alleged rapist Bill Crosby where male employees and supervisors would sexually harass women.
“J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard Entertainment, allegedly had multiple conversations with Afrasiabi about his drinking and that he had been ‘too friendly’ towards female employees at company events but gave Afrasiabi a slap on the wrist (ie. verbal counseling) in response to these incidents. Subsequently, Afrasiabi continues to make unwanted advances toward female employees. Including grabbing a female employee’s hand and inviting her to his hotel room and groping another woman.”
Two weeks after being named in the lawsuit, Brack leaves Activision Blizzard to “pursue new opportunities.” He joined Blizzard in 2006, holding a variety of positions within the company including Production Director on World of Warcraft. Finally, he became President of Blizzard in 2018 after Mike Morhaime stepped down.
As Brack is leaving the company, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will co-lead Blizzard moving forward. Oneal is the Executive Vice President of Development at Blizzard and was the former head of Vicarious Visions. Ybarra previously worked at Xbox and was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform and Technology at Blizzard.
Subsequently, Oneal and Ybarra will both lead Blizzard as the company needs to undergo major changes in its management and overall culture.