Blizzard president is leaving amid harassment lawsuit against the company

An employee holds a sign during a walkout at Activision Blizzard offices in Irvine, California, U.S., on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack is leaving the company, Activision Blizzard announced Tuesday.

The move comes after a July lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that alleges discrimination and sexual harassment against women at the company.

Brack was mentioned in the lawsuit, which alleged he was aware as early as 2019 that employees were leaving because of sexual harassment at the company. Brack did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment sent to his Yahoo email account.

Blizzard Executive Vice President Jen Oneal and Blizzard Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Ybarra will serve as co-leaders of Blizzard, as Brack leaves to “pursue new opportunities,” wrote Activision Blizzard President and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Alegre.

“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,” he added.

The announcement comes less than a week after employees staged a walkout outside the company’s Irvine, California, office against management’s dismissive response to the July 20 lawsuit.

The suit alleges Activision Blizzard has a “frat boy culture” that’s a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” Women, it added, make up about 20% of Activision Blizzard’s workforce, yet few women reach top roles within the company.

In an internal letter obtained by Bloomberg, Brack sent an email to staff addressing allegations from the July lawsuit, which he called “extremely troubling” and “completely unacceptable.” He said he would meet with employees to address how the company “can move forward.”

Last week CEO Bobby Kotick said he hired a law firm to conduct a review of company policies and procedures and apologized for the company’s initial “tone deaf” response to the lawsuit.

In an internal letter obtained by The Washington Post, the company’s Chief Compliance Officer Frances Townsend had called the allegations “factually incorrect, old and out of context.”

As of July 28, thousands of current and former employees had signed a letter criticizing management’s dismissive response to the lawsuit. Hundreds of current, former employees and their supporters attended the walkout.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that Brack was president of Blizzard, not Activision Blizzard.

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