Chris Metzen, former Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development for Blizzard Entertainment, released a statement reacting to the lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against Activision Blizzard for gender discrimination, among other things. Metzen left Blizzard in 2016, after many years serving as a chief visionary behind projects like Warcraft, Diablo, and more. Many of the allegations named in the lawsuit happened while Metzen was still with Blizzard.
"We failed, and I am sorry," Metzen wrote on Twitter. "To all of you at Blizzard - those of you I know and those of you whom I've never met - I offer you my very deepest apologies for the part I played in a culture that fostered harassment, inequality, and indifference. There is no excuse, We failed too many people when they needed us because we had the privilege of not noticing, not engaging, not creating necessary space for colleagues who needed us as leaders. I wish my apology could make any kind of difference. It can't."
He continued, "After reading so many of the experiences that have been shared over the past few days, a lot of common themes scream out - 'i was conditioned to think it was normal', 'I never spoke up for fear of reprisal', 'I didn't trust HR', 'nothing was going to change anyway' - on and on it goes. Friends and colleagues, people I have valued and admired for years, were directly harmed because I was not present enough to ask, to listen, to hear these stories when it mattered."
Another former Blizard exec, Mike Morhaime, who formerly served as the CEO of Blizzard, also apologized on Friday for the part that he played in facilitating the companies harassment and negative treatment of women.
"The fact that so many women were mistreated and were not supported means we let them down," Morhaime said in a Twitlonger. "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."
The gender discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard is the result of a two-year investigation by the State of California and has prompted widespread backlash and condemnation against Activision Blizzard's leadership, past and present. Many of the companies own employees have spoken out to share their stories and demand change.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.