J. Allen Brack, the president of Activision Blizzard Inc’s subsidiary, Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company as it grapples with the fallout of a harassment lawsuit that has rocked the video game giant and sparked a labour relations disaster.
Brack was one of several employees named in a lawsuit filed in July by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging sexual harassment and discrimination at the firm, whose most famous titles include first-person shooter series Call of Duty and the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game World of Warcraft.
The lawsuit alleges the corporation fostered a “frat boy culture” and was a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.
According to an announcement by Activision Blizzard’s president and chief operating officer Daniel Alegre on Tuesday, Blizzard executive vice president Jen Oneal and executive vice president and general manager Mike Ybarra will take over as co-leaders of Blizzard Entertainment and that Brack was leaving the company to “pursue new opportunities”.
Brack’s exit followed a mass walkout by employees at the company’s office in Irvine, California, last month against what was considered by many staff to be an initially dismissive response to the lawsuit by Activision Blizzard’s senior management.
However, following the outcry, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologised for the company initial response to the lawsuit, which he said was “quite frankly, tone deaf”. The CEO also said that the group has hired a law firm to review its policies and procedures to “promote a respectful and inclusive workplace”.
The ongoing fallout from the incident is also denting the company’s stock price, which dropped 4.3% to US$79.20 in mid-morning trading on Wall Street on Tuesday.