When the lawsuit against Blizzard came to light, the accounts of sexism, gender discrimination, and harassment triggered many people within the esports community who have gone through similar experiences in the gaming industry, including at Blizzard.
Earlier this week, a lawsuit was unearthed by Bloomberg that highlighted some disturbing accusations against the game developer. This included women getting sexually harassed and abused, some to the point of allegedly committing suicide, as well as refusing to promote female employees even if they were the most qualified candidate.
It was also revealed that Blizzard President J. Allen Brack was personally aware of allegations against certain employees and chose to do nothing to terminate or punish the individuals.
The lawsuit was very upsetting for the gaming community, not only because it shined a negative light on the developer of fan-favorite games but reminded them of their own experiences in the male-dominated space.
An esports marketing associate, Samantha, declared that misogynist behavior is "not fucking welcome" in esports and gaming. But that has sadly not been the experience many people have had in the space.
Esports journalist Brittany Angélica "Briggsycakes" González declared that she was taking a day off after becoming triggered by the Blizzard reports. This included accusations that a woman took her own life after having nudes sent around the company as well as extreme racism against a black female employee.
For Briggsycakes, it brought back a lot of memories during her own experiences with Blizzard, including getting "blacklisted" by the Overwatch League.
"I don't give a fuck about Twitter, or being popular, or getting heat, MY LIFE IS INVALUABLE. AND YOU NEARLY TOOK IT AWAY BECAUSE OF YOUR FRAGILE FUCKING EGOS. AND YOU KILLED A WOMAN. HOW FUCKING DARE YOU?" Briggsycakes exclaimed.
There were many other POC who felt disturbed by Blizzard's actions. The lawsuit claimed that "women of color were particularly vulnerable targets" when it came to discriminatory practices. One black woman reported that it took her "two years" to finally became a permanent employee. Meanwhile, men were made permanent employees despite being hired after her.
The supervisor also micromanaged the black woman, checking on her even if she just decided to go for a short walk. Meanwhile, the supervisor didn't seem bothered that male employees were playing video games. This same experience happened to a black woman on another Blizzard team, even making comments about her "body language."
Former Blizzard employees also came forward after the lawsuit was revealed. Esports PR Jacqui Collins stated that "HR is not there for you," giving examples of times her concerns were ignored in order to not make men uncomfortable.
"I don’t want to say I’ve lost hope in this industry. it’s not motivational or inspirational to say that. But, here we are. Many emotions and thoughts that I can’t get organized to express. The only clear thing right now is that my attempt to focus on work tonight has failed," Collins tweeted.
Former Blizzard employee and Apex Legends senior social media manager Alex came forward with her own story as well. She said that her hair had started to fall out due to how badly she was "gaslit" by her boss at Blizzard. When she brought her accusations to HR, Alex was told she was "underperforming."
"I loved Blizzard. I truly did. But they employ predators in every sense and we’ve all internally been saying that for years," Alex tweeted.
Brad Crusco, who used to be on the Hearthstone team, tweeted yesterday that he experienced sexual harassment multiple times at the hands of male leads. This included propositioning Crusco and his wife, telling him "explicit descriptions" of sex acts they'd do to him, and rubbing his back.
"This often occurred in front of my other coworkers, who said nothing," Crusco revealed.
He echoed what other former employees said as well, saying how useless it was to go to HR. They would just tell him that "boys will be boys" or suggested that maybe it was "just jokes." Crusco stayed at Blizzard at the time, afraid of losing his career over the harassment.
"I’m struggling with whether now is the right time to share this story. The last thing I want to do is divert attention away from the women in this industry whose voices are rightly being amplified right now. But the culture at Blizzard was toxic and it impacted many, many people," Crusco tweeted.
As more is uncovered about working at Blizzard, more former employees will most likely come forward to share their experiences. It can be difficult to admit sexual harassment at the hands of supervisors at larger companies and some employees have even signed agreements to stay silent about their treatment.
But this is most likely just the beginning.
Esports writer and editor with a passion for creating unique content for the gaming community.