Activision Blizzard executive exits following sexism row

A general view of atmosphere during 'Call Of Duty: Ghosts' Multiplayer Global Reveal at LA Live on August 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. — AFP pic
A general view of atmosphere during 'Call Of Duty: Ghosts' Multiplayer Global Reveal at LA Live on August 14, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. — AFP pic

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WASHINGTON, Aug 3 — Activision Blizzard unveiled a management shakeup today following employee protests and a California state lawsuit alleging the Call of Duty game giant enabled toxic workplace conditions and discriminated against women.

The head of the Blizzard Entertainment unit, J. Allen Brack, is leaving “to pursue new opportunities,” the company said in a statement, and will be replaced by company veterans Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra.

“With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, I am certain Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion and a dedication to excellence,” chief operating officer Daniel Alegre said.

The shakeup comes a week after workers walked out to protest sexism and harassment as a call went out online to boycott hit titles such as Call of Duty and Candy Crush.

The company has launched what it promised would be a far-reaching review of its workplace practices after the state lawsuit alleging wide-ranging discrimination and harassment of women employees.

The protests come amid growing complaints about treatment of women in the industry in recent years.

Activision has pledged to review both its workplace conditions and depiction of women in its popular games.

Today’s shakeup affects Blizzard, one of the three operating units of the California-based firm.

Oneal and Ybarra will be co-leaders of Blizzard and “share responsibility for development and operational accountability for the company,” the statement said.

“Both are leaders of great character and integrity and are deeply committed to ensuring our workplace is the most inspired, welcoming environment for creative excellence and to upholding our highest game development standards.” — AFP

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