Blizzard Entertainment president stepping down after workplace protests, harassment lawsuit

Blizzard Entertainment president stepping down after workplace protests, harassment lawsuit
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The president of Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind popular video games such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch, is stepping down after workers at the video game developer walked out in protest over allegations of harassment and discrimination. 

The company announced Tuesday that J. Allen Brack will be leaving the top spot, roughly a week after workers staged the protest

The protest followed a lawsuit California filed against Activision Blizzard alleging it fostered a “frat boy” culture that subjected women to sexual harassment and lower pay than their male peers. 

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Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-leads of the company moving forward, according to the announcement

“Both 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,” the company said in the announcement. 

In a statement, Brack said he anticipates his successors will lead with “passion and enthusiasm” and said “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.”

The complaint filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleged the Sunnyvale-based video game developer violated the state’s equal pay and employment acts. 

The complaint alleged women were subjected to “constant sexual harassment” and earned less pay than male counterparts for “substantially similar work.” 

The company rejected the allegations at the time the complaint was filed, with a spokesperson saying in a statement the state’s complaint “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past.”