Blizzard president J. Allen Brack isn't the only executive departing the company today. First reported by Bloomberg, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson confirmed to PC Gamer that Jesse Meschuk, formerly Blizzard's senior vice president of HR, is “no longer with the company.” Activision Blizzard did not provide a more detailed timeline for when Meschuk left.
Meschuk was the head of Blizzard's human resources department, which allegedly worked to cover up abuses and was deeply dysfunctional, according to a report by Axios. Speaking with dozens of current and former employees, the report details how Blizzard's HR department “actively shielded” abusers from punishment related to complaints made against them. In one instance, a former employee named Nicki Broderick says she reported her manager after they got into a heated argument and he refused to let her leave her desk or reach for her phone. According to Broderick, Blizzard's HR representative said the manager was not at fault and, for raising the issue, Broderick says she felt retaliated against. “I wasn't given any new projects. I wasn't considered for promotion three years after that incident,” she told Axios. Another employee reported a coworker for physically abusing her and said she was met with skepticism because she “wasn't more hysterical.”
Employees also say the department had confusing and obscure protocols for reporting issues, lacked proper procedures for documenting reported abuses, and even faced so much employee turnover that the department was stretched thin.
Meschuk's departure from Blizzard comes in the wake of Activision Blizzard president Bobby Kotick saying that the company was conducting internal investigations and that “anyone found to have impeded the integrity of [Activision Blizzard's] processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.”
During an earnings call today, Kotick and other Activision Blizzard executives reiterated that sentiment almost a dozen times. “There is no place at our company where discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind will be tolerated,” Kotick said in his opening statement. “Our work environment—everywhere we operate—will not permit discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment. We will be the company that sets the example for this in our industry.”
“People will be held accountable for their actions,” Kotick also said.
Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in controversy ever since July 21st, when the state of California announced it was suing the company over multiple claims of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination. Since then, thousands of employees have come forward to condemn Activision Blizzard's public response and call for change. To find out more about the lawsuit and ensuing controversy, read our full overview of what's happened so far.