Blizzard Entertainment CEO, Mike Morhaime, released a statement to the press yesterday regarding a discrimination lawsuit filed against the company by four former female employees. The suit, filed in California Superior Court, alleges that the company’s treatment of female employees was “troubling,” with some female employees in the department, including the plaintiffs, being paid less than male employees while working at the same level. Morhaime’s statement, which is reproduced below, was in response to a question posed by a reporter regarding his reaction to the lawsuit.
Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime has issued a statement to an unhappy group of employees who claim they have been overworked, underpaid, and mistreated. In a letter he says that he is “extremely sorry that we failed you”.
In the days since Blizzard President Mike Morhaime apologized for how his company treated female employees, the gaming company’s Twitter account has been responding to tweets from women who worked for the company. In a Tweet on Monday, Blizzard said, “We’ve dedicated ourselves to ensuring that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future. I’m sorry that I failed you.”
Former president Mike Morhaime sent a statement to the industry and particularly to his former Blizzard colleagues overnight in reaction to the circumstances surrounding the explosive California state lawsuit claiming systematic sexual harassment and discrimination at Activision-Blizzard. This letter, in stark contrast to the confrontational, deflective memo released in private at Activision and the Gloria Steinem-namedrop memo obtained from J. Allen Brack, is a genuine apology that shows sorrow and remorse for what Morhaime describes as his own failure as the company’s previous CEO.
“I read the whole Activision Blizzard lawsuit as well as several of the other articles. It’s all very upsetting and tough to read. I’m embarrassed. Everything I believed I stood for seems to have been swept away. Worse, and maybe more importantly, actual individuals have been injured, and some women have had traumatic experiences.
“I spent 28 years at Blizzard. During that time, I worked hard to establish a secure and inviting workplace for individuals of all genders and backgrounds. I knew it wasn’t ideal, but we were still a long way from our objective. We have failed so many women by mistreating them and failing to assist them. Furthermore, we did not succeed in making individuals feel secure in speaking their minds. It’s little comfort that other businesses have had to deal with similar issues. I wanted us to stand out, to be better.
“There is harassment and prejudice. They’re all over our industry. Leadership is responsible for ensuring that all workers, regardless of gender or ethnicity, feel secure, supported, and treated fairly. It is the leadership’s duty to eliminate toxicity and harassment in any form at all levels of the organization. I apologize profusely to any Blizzard ladies who were subjected to any of these events.
“I understand that they are only words, but I wanted to express my gratitude to the ladies who have had terrible situations. I hear you, I believe you, and I am really sorry for disappointing you. If you’re willing to share, I’d want to hear your tales. I can and will utilize my position as a leader in our business to assist promote good change and fight sexism, discrimination, and harassment wherever I can. I think we can do better, and that the game business can be a place where women and minorities are accepted, included, encouraged, acknowledged, rewarded, and ultimately unhindered from making the kinds of contributions that all of us enter this profession to make. I want to make an indelible imprint on our business that we can all be proud of.”
Morhaime left Blizzard in 2018 but remained on as an adviser until 2019; a year ago, he established Dreamhaven, which has attracted a lot of Blizzard talent. He is not named in the complaint, but given that the Activision document admits events dating back more than a decade, he was undoubtedly in control for the overwhelming duration of the time period at issue and presided over the creation of the poisonous atmosphere and the abuse-producing workforce. We’ll be watching to see how he utilizes his clout, as he claims, to effect good change at Dreamhaven, particularly in terms of culture and hiring. More than words are owed to the ladies of Blizzard and our industry.
The story began last year, when a female employee at Blizzard Entertainment told the company’s CEO, Mike Morhaime, that she was pregnant. Morhaime offered to help her with work-related matters, and to keep her up-to-date on her child’s needs. When the employee informed him that she was taking maternity leave, Morhaime reportedly responded with an offensive comment about her lack of a “family,” and that she should be grateful that she was being considered for a promotion.. Read more about blizzard activision and let us know what you think.
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