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.
Quote From Mike Morhaime
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.
First off - it is 2021 and amazing that this is still going on and the words - "minorities and women weren't treated equally" shouldn't be something we say in 2021.
Great for Mike speaking up now but this is a problem that goes back when he was CEO. It was part of the culture and still is. Where was he then?
Only now when Blizzards name is trashed he comes out?!
Weening myself away but I have un-installed Hearthstone and discovering a lot of great games out there that are actually better than Hearthstone.
It has been liberating.
I can't support a company that has a pattern of decades of abuse. Maybe now, finally, we can rise up and say this isn't the culture we want as it most compares to white supremacy groups.
We should speak up against the abuse and seriously start cleaning house till the gamer culture is more inclusive and is fun for everyone!!
Anyone who supports the abuse or participates in it should be banned, ignored, and barred from having a voice.
As much as people scream about the 1st Amendment - that has nothing to do with this if you know anything about #1A and it surely should not protect hate. Words have impact.
Its weird to see a Co-Founder of Blizzard reacts with respect and will to change the company, while the official statement of Acitivision Blizzard just deny the lawsuit.
Nice words from him. I hope he can change things that go wrong in this company.
Don't care reveal some cards already Blizzard
Please don't make another account. You've been permabanned and don't want you on the site.
that was amazing! How did you know he was banned???
He's got an admin Tag. His IP was probably pinged in the system, or it was intuition since so many people downvoted it.
Some free advice for you:
If you want to avoid downvotes, which you appear to take personally, don't respond to people talking about sexual assault/harassment with "don't care"
What a catastrophically selfish way to behave
I don't care because plenty of bad people act like they care and thinks it makes them a better person to do so.
Hard to care when I don't know the situation or the victims. For all I know the victims are hateful people themselves.
I have my own problems to worry about. You don't see these people speaking out against the millions of people who die every week.
People complain and campaign about other world issues all the time, and there's a significant overlap in the people who actually bother to try to improve each. So don't kid yourself into thinking the people down-voting you now aren't also concerned about racism, homophobia, climate change, the pandemic etc, just because the spotlight is currently on sexual harassment.
As for your own problems, I assure you they do not include having to wait 2 days to see a few Hearthstone cards that you won't be able to use for over a week anyway. So don't pretend to be a victim when you get a flood of down-votes for a comment that acts like the world's biggest non-issue is more important than the sexual harassment that continues to plague society.
By the way, even the best of us get a bunch of down-votes every so often, so people aren't attacking you personally. There's also room for lots of different world-views on this site, and you sound like a bit of a nihilist, which is fine. No one is trying to stifle that. What they do take issue with, however, is writing comments in a callous and offensive way. It is good take the time to either find a way to word it which doesn't have that problem. If there is no way of avoiding it being offensive, you are going to have to put in the effort to write a good justification, otherwise you're just asking for down-votes.
Not true. I am never downvoted.
Just so I'm clear, you're saying you don't care about assault/abuse because there are bad people out there who pretend to care in order to get some sort of moral high ground?
You say it's hard to care, but I want to challenge you on that. Let's have a little hypothetical situation: you're walking down the street, turn a corner, and see the aftermath of a car accident. There's a person lying bleeding on the ground, a family nearby crying. The person is receiving first aid, so you're not expected to get involved. You know jack about this family, this person on the ground. Is it hard to feel empathy? For all you know, the person might be shitty, might be a saint, but, importantly, you don't know. It seems to me healthier to assume that, on the balance, they're as fine a person as your average individual. It seems easier to empathize.
But let's say you don't, for whatever reason. The family is kind of in your way. Do you say "I don't care, get out of the way" or do you maybe give them a little space and walk around?
Nobody, literally nobody, is asking you to get out and protest. Nobody is making you brigade online. Right now, nobody needs you to do anything. Literally the only thing being asked is to keep things like "I don't care, just gimme the cards" to yourself. Be grumpy that it's disrupted reveal season, that's your prerogative. You'll get the cards soon enough.
For us, this has disrupted the reveal season for an expansion that nobody will remember in 2 years time. For them, lives and careers have been affected. Just keep that in perspective. Saying "I don't care" really says "your problems don't matter," and that's a profoundly shitty thing to say to someone, particularly when they're talking about assault/harassment.
Everyone, everyone, has their own shit to deal with. I've got my problems and I don't doubt that you have yours. Those suck! But recognizing when other people are expressing theirs and taking a second to go "yeah, that sucks" rather than "shut up, I don't care" will take you a long, long way in life. You'll find it easier to get help with your own situations if you're willing to, even just a little, be open to other people talking about their own.
I dont expect anyone to be happy with this, and the diversion into gaming industry at the end is sad. Clearly this is an issue in nearly every industry and playing into "its because its within the gaming industry" is poorly thought out and shows why this is an issue to begin with.
He simply acknowledged something that is prevalent, and in my opinion, pretty much part of human nature. He then says
"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"
which honestly is also not only true, but come across to me as essentially what is and should be expected in the first place: monkeys kept in place by a more understanding, mature and respected member of its community.
Of course he's going to only comment on the gaming industry, he's in it. Im not expecting him to start telling me about Nike sweat shops and child labor.
I don't think there is anything he could have said that would be satisfactory to all, but in my view better he acknowledge it and apologize rather than stay silent.
The fairer the workplace is, and better all staff are respected and treated properly the better.
I prefer to use fairness rather than equally because I don't really think in a company setting everyone is equal. People have different skills, work differing amounts and bring varying degrees of value to the business. But striving for fairness and treating everyone at every level equitably with respect seems like a minimum standard all companies should adopt.
Doesn't sound like that's always been the case here, though I am sure many large companies have such problems in their past also. Own up to it, sincerely apologize and make things better.
My acceptance of this statement will be decided in the future when more info comes out. Did things get worse when he left or was this always the environment by the company? Upper management had some very hands on involvement with the harassments it seems, was this the case for him as well?
He's not at the company now, and he acknowledges that there is no way he's not partly responsible for what went on. This is a good start, but is it empty language trying to divert actual responsibility or a genuine concern and call to action? I hope it's the latter.