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More information has surfaced regarding the catalyst behind former Blizzard co-leader Jen Oneal leaving the company in early November. In her public resignation letter, she did not state her exact reason for leaving but specified that she had “hope for Blizzard” and was “inspired by the passion of everyone … working towards meaningful, lasting change.”
However, a recent report by the Wall Street Journal stated that Oneal’s departure followed an email in which she described the toxic workplace culture that led multiple agencies, including the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, to bring legal charges against Activision Blizzard. According to the WSJ, the email, sent to a member of Activision’s legal team, discussed a “professed a lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to turn the culture around, saying ‘it was clear that the company would never prioritize our people the right way.'” This actively contradicts the sentiments expressed in her letter of resignation.
Furthermore, in the email to Activision’s legal team, Oneal shared that she had been sexually harassed earlier in her time at Activision and, even as co-leader of Blizzard, was being paid less than her counterpart Mike Ybarra. Oneal, who is a gay Asian-American woman, wrote that she had been “tokenized, marginalized and discriminated against.”
The earlier announcement that Oneal would lead Blizzard had been met with tentative optimism from employees. Some, who had worked under her before, called her “the best studio head [they’ve] ever worked under.” Employees pushing for a better workplace expressed their disappointment with her resignation.
This is a sad moment for many of us at ABK, who were excited to have a new experience with a Woman of Color heading our company. We found out during our Shareholder meeting–and wish Jen well in her future endeavors. https://t.co/34aXwCoo8D
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 2, 2021
Following Oneal’s exit, Ybarra has become the de facto sole leader of Blizzard. Oneal has transitioned to another role within the company, where she will remain before she departs at the end of the year. The wider WSJ report has also galvanized Blizzard employees to stage a walkout today; the second walkout since news of the initial lawsuit emerged.
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