To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.
Mike Morhaime, Founder and Former CEO of Blizzard Entertainment issued a statement late last night sharing his thoughts on the ongoing lawsuit. You can read his statement below.
Many of the claims in the lawsuit are under Mike's time leading the company. A couple of ex-Blizzard employees (1, 2) have come out on Twitter in response, stating they had emailed him about problems at the company. An update from the second linked tweet, from Cher Scarlett, goes on to say they believe Mike was kept in the dark about "plenty".
Mike stepped down from his role as CEO at Blizzard back in 2018, remaining on in an advisory role until April 2019. Last September, Mike announced a new video game company, Dreamhaven, which included two studios under the brand involving members that left the Hearthstone team.
I have read the full complaint against Activision Blizzard and many of the other stories. It is all very disturbing and difficult to read. I am ashamed. It feels like everything I thought I stood for has been washed away. What’s worse but even more important, real people have been harmed, and some women had terrible experiences.
I was at Blizzard for 28 years. During that time, I tried very hard to create an environment that was safe and welcoming for people of all genders and backgrounds. I knew that it was not perfect, but clearly we were far from that goal. The fact that so many women were mistreated and were not supported means we let them down. In addition, we did not succeed in making it feel safe for people to tell their truth. It is no consolation that other companies have faced similar challenges. I wanted us to be different, better.
Harassment and discrimination exist. They are prevalent in our industry. It is the responsibility of leadership to keep all employees feeling safe, supported, and treated equitably, regardless of gender and background. It is the responsibility of leadership to stamp out toxicity and harassment in any form, across all levels of the company. To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.
I realize that these are just words, but I wanted to acknowledge the women who had awful experiences. I hear you, I believe you, and I am so sorry to have let you down. I want to hear your stories, if you are willing to share them. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to help drive positive change and to combat misogyny, discrimination, and harassment wherever I can. I believe we can do better, and I believe the gaming industry can be a place where women and minorities are welcomed, included, supported, recognized, rewarded, and ultimately unimpeded from the opportunity to make the types of contributions that all of us join this industry to make. I want the mark I leave on this industry to be something that we can all be proud of.