As reported by Polygon, Kellog's ended its relationship with the Overwatch League on Friday in response to the allegations of gender discrimination that have been leveled at the developer of Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment.
“We find these allegations troubling and inconsistent with our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion,” Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner told Polygon on Friday. “While Activision Blizzard has announced plans to address the challenging issues it faces, we will not be moving forward with any new programs this year, but will continue to review progress made against their plans.”
Kellog's has been a sponsor of the Overwatch League since 2019, prominently featuring products like Cheez-It Grooves and Pringles Wavy on Overwatch League broadcasts. They also manufactured the Overwatch-inspired Lucio-Oh's cereal in 2018, which was inspired by the Brazilian support hero Lucio. So their departure from the league is a big deal.
Kellog's decision to leave the Overwatch League comes amid other advertisers evaluating their own sponsorships with the already embattled league. Coca-Cola and State Farm both told the Washington Post that they are not advertising on this weekend's games, and they are reexamining their respective OWL partnerships.
T-Mobile, while they have not spoken publicly about the matter, removed their branding from the Overwatch League broadcasts and related properties like Plat Chat this past week as well.
All of this comes amid not only the gender discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, but also a class-action lawsuit from the companies own investors alleging that the company's leadership lied to and mislead stockholders about the state of the investigation.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.