Lawsuit Timeline Summary + Lore articles

How the lawsuit has affected the story:

  • Anything to do with any exdevs involved in the abuse removed (e.g. Afrasiabi and others purged, Mac’aree renamed Eredath because of McCree, etc)
  • Various “inappropriate” items (e.g. third leg), flirts (e.g. some homophobic and meta-racist stuff) and emotes removed.
  • Some removed emotes re-added but reworked
  • Some lore changes, e.g. Twin Consorts changed to Twin Empyreans and their lore description altered
  • Greenskin removed from the game (originally just the BFA Danath comments, now all instances where Greenskins refers to Orcs after a month, allegedly due to Warhammer litigation)

Anywho, reposting the timeline so we can keep track on how it affects the story:

Initial lawsuit and a decent youtube channel lawyer giving a crash course on the fancy legal language

JAB’s email before he got canned

Hello Blizzard -

I personally have a lot of emotions coming out of yesterday, and I know you do, too. The allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling.

I know many of you would like to receive more clarity. While I can’t comment on the specifics of the case as it’s an open investigation, what I can say is that the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.

  • It goes - with saying - it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment.
  • It goes - with saying - that everyone should feel safe working here, whether we are on campus, at BlizzCon, or working from home.
  • It goes - with saying - it takes courage to come forward, and all claims brought to the company are investigated by internal and (when needed) external investigators. We take these claims very seriously. Claims can be made without fear of retaliation, and many times, I attend to them personally, along with our other leaders.

Stepping back - when I talked with Bobby about taking this job, one of the first things I mentioned was a revered saint of the Brack household - Gloria Steinem. Growing up, the value of women as equals, understanding the work that had been done for equal treatment, and the fact that there was still much to do, were common themes. This is just one of the reasons why the fight for equality is incredibly important to me. People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community. I disdain ‘bro culture,’ and have spent my career fighting it.

Iterating on our culture with the same intensity that we bring to our games is imperative, with our values acting as our North Star. This is some of the most important work we do, both as professional and human beings.

A company is more than a legal construct that exists as a piece of paper in a filing cabinet in Delaware. The people that work at the company make it what it is, through their actions and creations. Each of us plays a role in maintaining a place of safety for one other. And it is also up to each of us to continue to craft the Blizzard we want - and commit to doing our part in keeping Blizzard great but always aspiring for more.

The leadership team and I will be meeting with many of you to answer questions and discuss how we can move forward. In the meantime, I want you to know that you can talk to any manager, any HR partner, any member of the legal team, or to any one on the executive team [including, Hey J]. If you feel more comfortable talking to someone outside of Blizzard, or prefer to be anonymous, you can contact the Way2Play Integrity Line.

I feel angry, sad, and a host of other emotions, but I also feel grateful to work alongside a set of leaders and thousands of employees who join me in their commitment to continuous improvement.

Thank you Blizzard,

JAB

Townsend’s email before she got put in line

Everyone,

As the Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network and our Chief Compliance Officer, I wanted to reach out to you. I know this has been difficult for many of us. A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories - some from more than a decade ago.

The Activision companies of today, the Activision companies that I know, are great companies with good values. When I joined the Executive Leadership Team, I was certain that I was joining a company where I would be valued, treated with respect, and provided opportunities equal to those afforded to the men of the company. For me, this has been true during my time. As a leader, I am committed to making sure that the experience I have is the same as the rest of the organization. We have a leadership team that is committed to these principles in every way.

I am proud to be part of a company that takes a hard-line approach to inappropriate or hostile work environments and sexual harassment issues. Our Speak Up campaign reinforces our zero tolerance for retaliation against those who do speak up. We’ve made significant investments to foster our inclusive behaviors, and to reflect greater diversity within our leadership teams including:

  • Investing in and strengthening our DE&I Employee Networks; creating global networks to bring together the efforts in all our business units and the introduction of Executive Sponsors.
  • Introducing learning and development programs, including inclusive hiring training.
  • Amplifying internal programs such as the Way2Play Heroes and the recurring Speak Up campaign.
  • Reinforcing channels for employees to report violations including the “ASK List.”
  • Introducing an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns.
  • Continuing to require all employees to take Equality & Diversity training including anti-harassment training (and have done so for many years).

We put tremendous effort into creating fair compensation policies that reflect our commitment to equal opportunity. We review compensation regularly and feel confident that we pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take proactive steps to ensure that pay and advancement are driven by merit. We reward performance, and we conduct extensive anti-discrimination trainings, including for those who are part of the compensation process.

We work at a company that truly values equality and fairness. Rest assured that leadership is committed to continuing to maintain a safe, fair, and inclusive workplace. We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees. We aspire in our company to do great things: in our games, in our impact on society, and in our work environment. We continue to hold firm to our principles and invest, as we have in the past, the resources to ensure quality opportunities for all employees. We remain committed as a leadership team to doing what is right.

Better ABK Workers Alliance (Not A Union!) was created + demands

https://twitter.com/ABetterABK

Townsend failed apology

Bobbywix email

This has been a difficult and upsetting week.

I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters - and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.
Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.

It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions, and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my highest priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.

We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels for reporting or to reach out to Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at ATVI@wilmerhale.com or 202-247-2725. Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to long-lasting change. Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions:

    1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
    1. Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.
    1. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.
    1. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.
    1. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.

Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world.

Yours sincerely,
Bobby

Cosby Suite revelations

Failed call for unionization by ex devs

Misogyny tax

Oof article

Internal C-Suite drama

JAB retired, Oneal and Ybarra put in

The workers group sends in their list of demands

Q2 2021 press release and report

https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/0000718877/000162828021015351/atvi-20210630.htm

Historical review article comes out

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-08-06/activision-blizzard-atvi-news-culture-of-misbehavior-festered-before-lawsuit

Queer Latina ex employee comes forward with another racism story, her partner also experienced racism and was brushed under the rug

Shareholders respond to Blizzard

Firings begin

Lawsuit expanded

WoW Team sends out personal message sans approval

Workers file another lawsuit

workers announce they aren’t unionizing

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2021/09/17/activision-blizzard-riot-ubisoft-harassment-union/

Federal SEC investigates Bobby

Chief Legal Officer cha cha slides out of Blizzard

New more aggressive statement about changing ActiBlizz

EEOC vs Blizzard settlement

California attempts to intervene, EEOC reveals conflict of interest

Docket

California intervention denied

Fed EEOC and California DFEH stab each other in the back

Activision tried to pause the lawsuit due to ethics violations but the courts denied the request

New Bobby letter addressing employee demands without mentioning employee demands or recognizing the workers alliance that is not a union lol

Workers maybe unionizing after all???!?!?!!!

Ion new interview Nov 2021 denoting changes to the team’s philosophy change and also a mild display of humility

Afrasiabi article from 2018

Reddit thread compiling all comments by devs and exdevs wrt the lawsuit

Tldr tweets:

  • They made employees sign NDAs and Arbitration agreements
  • Women had to deal with constant harassment
  • There are only a handful of POC at Blizzard, most devs only recall tops 5-7 people in their many years at Blizzard, most of the time the same Person of Color would quit and get rehired
  • Blizzard originally denied creating an internal Women’s and internal LGBTQ mailing list, took many years of fighting
  • Many devs live in groups of 3-5 due to horrible pay vs cost of living
  • The “Blizzard tax” is common, taking a pay cut for the “honor” of working at Blizzard
  • Abuse dates back to 2005, a lot of the former devs/leadership knew what was going on and did nothing
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Thank you Baal.

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NP!

At the top of the post I just added a brief summary of what’s been changed so far.

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You’re the best hun. We’d be lost with ya :+1::wolf:

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Very comprehensive, thanks much

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Now, do not mention the war

We don’t want another thread getting nuked.

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I promise not to make the same mistake.

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I applaud you for the work this must of took…

… but how does this really effect the overall story?

While I understand “Greenskins” and removing the “B” word from the Garrosh quest wasn’t necessarily needed…

I always come back to the “rose by any other name.” (Basically, using different language can get the same message across)

1 Like

Considering this does affect the story directions as a whole plus the future of the franchise. I would rather have a space to talk about the story ramifications here than in the GD.

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Well for now the backwards changes are fairly minor, e.g. Macaree now Eredath or the very small retcons of the Twin “Empyreans” formerly Consorts.

The question is more speculation: how will this public harrowing lead to changes in the story, now that sexist and racist tropes have been aggressively pointed out by the playerbase and the devs.

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You really think that’s the case? I don’t see anyone doing that on the forums, outside of here in the Story Forums. Is there a large group of players on Twitter doing this?

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This is an excellent, comprehensive timeline of the lawsuit.

On that note I recently saw on WoWhead that the Blizzcon 2022 Event has been cancelled. Would that be worth mentioning?

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Yes. Including some Game Devs (not Narrative Devs) liking/retweeting the sentiments.

I am willing to bet internally there is a schism between:

  1. Gamer Bros who insist Everything Is Fine
  2. Woker Than Thou Whiteknights who are way out of their depth who insist all possible allegories must be purged from the game
  3. People like me who want the allegories to keep existing, but for each race to be given equal nuance and depth (e.g. more Arthurian motifs for Humans, less hyper-centering of Elune and Naaru, etc)
  4. People who would rather return to WC1 where Horde is Evil and Alliance is Good.

I’m hoping Group 3 wins.

Eh. Not really that important.

15 Likes

I think a lot of us are hoping for option 3 to prevail. It would be nice for ALL the races to get some love and attention they deserve

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I feel attacked lol, but alright

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I mean you’re not calling for the Disney-fication of the game, purging all IRL cultural basis from the races (eg stripping Native allegories from Tauren, stripping Caribbean allegories from Trolls, etc)

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It’s like the people calling for Succubus to be removed from the game rather than adding the Incubus.

Luckily we won that round but man, lol

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I fear the current upheaval of WoW and the current zeitgeist are empowering and creating an opportunity for the Type 2 fans.

Type 1 are losing ground or leaving the game. Type 3 are sadly under-appreciated (though I’m also rooting for them). Type 4, as far as I can tell, don’t have enough support.

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Wait, people actually wanted that to happen?

Talking about the devs tho.

As far as devs go, it’s evident it’s majority 2, 3, 4 inside Blizzard

Removing succubus? Yes. A lot of Woker Than Thou doubts completely ignorant of the history of the Succubus or darker female mythologies, e.g. the fact “Lilith” folklore by and large survived via women continuing the oral tradition.

There was a big thread in GD about it, it was a hot mess.

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