In a nutshell: Like rats jumping a sinking ship, Activision Blizzard staff have been leaving in droves. The company's chief compliance officer confirmed on Tuesday that at least 20 employees have "exited." The exec did not say if they were terminated or resigned, but did mention that another 20 were "disciplined."
More than 20 Activision Blizzard employees have left the company over a sexual harassment lawsuit that became public last July. Activision Blizzard's Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend confirmed the number, adding that another 20 staffers have received other disciplinary measures.
"It doesn't matter what your rank is, what your job is," Townsend told Financial Times. "If you've committed some sort of misconduct or you're a leader who has tolerated a culture that is not consistent with our values, we're going to take action."
Townsend has flipped her stance on the matter 180 degrees. When the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) initially filed the complaint, she said the lawsuit was "truly meritless and irresponsible" and that the claims were "distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past."
Know there's a *lot* going on today but I am on Blizzard Way at the employee walkout. The state of CA is suing Activision Blizzard for a pattern of pay/gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Employees found company's response to the lawsuit "abhorrent." pic.twitter.com/qEx59FiydS--- Jon peltz (@JonnyPeltz) July 28, 2021
Her response was part of a companywide effort to play down the "frat-boy" workplace culture and sparked an employee walkout. Days later, Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack, who was named directly in the lawsuit, stepped down from his position.
Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened an investigation into the matter. A day later, Blizzard's Chief Legal Officer Claire Hart resigned. The allegations of discrimination were also probed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Blizzard settled the EEOC's complaints with an $18 million compensation package and a promise to clean up the company's act.
The recent departures and additional disciplinary actions are likely a part of that clean-up effort. However, the company has yet to settle matters with the SEC, CWA, or the California DFEH, which filed the initial lawsuit that got the ball rolling.