Blizzard’s First Woman Co-Head Resigned Due To Being ‘Tokenized, Marginalised, And Discriminated Against’

Blizzard’s First Woman Co-Head Resigned Due To Being ‘Tokenized, Marginalised, And Discriminated Against’
Image: Activision Blizzard / Kotaku / Emmanuel Dunand, Getty Images

Amongst the latest wave of troubling revelations to come out of Activision Blizzard, the Wall Street Journal reports that former exec Jennifer Oneal’s incredibly brief stint as co-head of Blizzard ended due to her being “tokenized, marginalised, and discriminated against.”

The WSJ’s explosive reporting revealed that many allegations of inappropriate behaviour were previously known about by CEO Bobby Kotick, and that Oneal emailed a member of Activision’s legal team to say “it was clear that the company would never prioritise our people the right way.”

Oneal, who is Asian-American and gay, was appointed as co-lead of Blizzard in August this year, after J. Allen Brack’s resignation. Brack euphemistically “stepped down” during a previous raft of allegations made against the publisher, and was replaced by Oneal alongside Mike Ybarra. Less than two months later, in early November, Oneal announced her decision to resign, at the time explaining she was to “transition to a new position before departing ABK at the end of the year.” She said this was “not without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite,” adding that, “This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect.”

However, the WSJ reports they’ve seen emails in which Oneal “professed a lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to turn the culture around.”

The email revealed that she had been sexually harassed at the company earlier in her career. It also revealed that she was allegedly being paid less than Ybarra. “I have been tokenized, marginalised, and discriminated against,” the WSJ says she wrote.

The article also describes a 2007 party Oneal attended, along with Kotick, in which “scantily clad women danced on stripper poles,” while a DJ “encouraged female attendees to drink more so the men would have a better time.” The WSJ adds that a representative for Kotick claims he “didn’t remember attending such a party,” which might not be a great way to phrase things given the circumstances.

The WSJ reporting also alleges that Kotick already knew about sexual assault allegations at the company, and that the CEO was himself involved in harassment incidents against female workers.

Comments

  • I believe when this was first reported I said: “Sounds like she walked in, saw the dumpster fire that Blizzard is in right now, and started taking offers to be a diversity figurehead at another company for better money and a place that won’t burn her reputation as the ship sinks.”

    I love being right

    • She knew, she rolled up her sleeves to help fix Blizzard… and she got told to shut up and sit down cause Koticks battle plan is absolute. When you micro manage a CEO to not do the job you gave them… of course they would quit!

    • Must feel bad that you’re not right then, in this case.

      I mean, you’ve posted nothing other the usual sexist rubbish wrapped around an assertion that she did nothing, it was all too hard, and it was just a cynical ploy by her to use the position as a stepping stone into another meaningless job as a “diversity figurehead” somewhere else.

      Clearly, as she isn’t a white straight male, it’s just self-evident to you that she can’t possibly have been appointed to the position because of any actual ability, amirite? Nothing whatsoever to do with her quarter century working in the computer game industry. Why wouldn’t she want some kind of lazy token position where she can flash some skin tone and lipstick for an occasional boardroom photo and an easy payday?

      And let’s be honest, in mase’s universe, the only thing she every offered employers was an opportunity to virtue signal their wokeist credentials. I mean, it’s all just the modern equivalent of sleeping around in order to get a promotion, but with affirmative action.

      • No offense, but knowing the guy, that is probably exactly what she offered to Kotick. Despite any other skills, qualifications or references she may have had, she had the most important one to him at the time, the ability for him to point at her and declare he was changing the tone at the company. And from the sound of it, that is exactly why she quit and moved on to another company, because she didn’t want to be hoisted as a mission accomplished banner for a company that was just going to keep going the way it always had, so she moved on to somewhere that would better appreciate her skills, qualifications and abilities. It’s a slightly better-toned way of what Mase wrote here, but fundamentally the same thing, so it might be time to get down off your high horse?

        • Out of interest, how close exactly is the personal relationship that you have with Bobby Kotick? I mean, do your families go on holidays together, or is it just that your kids happen to go to the same school? I’m genuinely curious.

          Regardless, clearly you’re also having personal issues seeing anything beyond Jennifer Oneal’s race and gender; you share mase’s complete lack of any insight into how governance actually works in large listed corporations; and are able to contribute no actual insight into Jen Oneal’s resignation other than “the sound of it” ( https://youtu.be/nMuh33BMZYY?t=8 ) stirred with a bit of gut feeling, a few random stereotypes and a whole bunch of speculation. No offense.

  • The part I don’t understand is, she knew all this before she took the position- the vast majority of this appalling behaviour appears to have occurred years earlier. Maybe she was pushing for Kotick to fuck off too and decided to leave when it was clear he wasn’t budging… I dunno but there’s more to it IMO..

    • Could be a bait and switch. She was promised things behind the curtain, before she realised she was going to be used as the token female in the executive team, joined and then once the curtains were open, she was greeted with the dumpster fire that is the company and the cancer that is Kotick constantly pouring petrol on the fire and starting new ones. Who the fuck would want to stay on for that? As the age old saying goes “That is above my pay grade”.

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