Chris Metzen, who was in a senior position at Blizzard until he retired in 2016, has issued a statement following the news of the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.
Metzen, the former senior vice president of story & franchise development who currently works at Warchief Gaming, released the public apology and statement on his twitter account.
He said “There is no excuse. We failed too many people when they needed us because we had the privilege of not noticing, not engaging, not creating necessary space for the colleagues who needed us as leaders.”
This is later than it should have been. Here’s my response. pic.twitter.com/0h8iF6a1JR
— Chris Metzen (@ChrisMetzen) July 24, 2021
“Words are cheap. Not sure what grand, sweeping promises really do either, Accountability starts with people. Not corporations, or platitudes, or ‘values cast in iron around a statue” he added.
Metzen appears to be referencing the Orc statue outside Blizzard Entertainment’s office in Irvine California. The statue is surrounded by plaques depicting the company’s eight core values, which include “every voice matters” and “lead responsibly”.
— Blizzard Entertainment (@Blizzard_Ent) January 23, 2018
Metzen goes on “Unless we as individuals – and by ‘we’, I mostly mean ‘men’ – start to walk in far greater awareness, compassion, and empathy for the women around us – in the whole of our lives, not just at work – then nothing changes.”
“We must consistently and thoughtfully model this behaviour to those around us, hold each other accountable (and be ready to be held to account) and listen at every stage of the game,” Metzen concludes.
Metzen is known to have worked closely with World Of Warcraft’s former creative director Alex Afasiabi, who was named in the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. The lawsuit itself says (page 15) Afrasiabi “was permitted to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions” and that he would harass female employees during Blizz Con.
According to the lawsuit, Afrasiabi’s conduct was known to executives. Metzen said in a follow up tweet that he “loved working with [Afrasiabi] and jamming in story meetings”, but that he was “never his boss, we never really interacted outside of doing the work or taking smoke breaks.”
In other news, ex-Blizzard president Mike Morhaime also issued a statement regarding the lawsuit. Morhaime states that he is “extremely sorry that I failed you” following the allegations.