Report: Activision Blizzard fires 20 employees in response to harassment claims

Activision Blizzard Walkout One Blizzard
Activision Blizzard Walkout One Blizzard (Image credit: Carli Velocci / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • According to a Financial Times report, Activision Blizzard has fired 20 employees in response to harassment allegatins brought on by a recent lawsuit.
  • An email sent to staff said that the company will also be expanding is ethics and compliance team.
  • This news comes the same day that the company requested that a DFEH lawsuit be put on pause to sort out potential ethics violations.

Activision Blizzard has reportedly fired 20 employees on Tuesday, according to a Financial Times article, citing recent harassment allegations brought on by an explosive lawsuit that rocked the video game industry in July.

Activision Blizzard's chief compliance officer Frances Townsend told FT that it was a result of an internal investigation that found misconduct throughout the company. The individuals were not named, but included multiple game developers. In a letter published online (which a spokesperson told Windows Central works as the company's statement on the matter) she also mentioned that beyond the 20 people who have left the company, an additional 20 faced further disciplinary action.

"It doesn't matter what your rank is, what your job is. 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, who previously said the lawsuit "presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company," told FT.

The company announced the news in an internal email to employees. It also said that it would be expanding its ethics and compliance team in the public letter. This includes the promoting of Jen Brewer to senior vice president of Ethics and Compliance and the addition of 19 full-time roles to the team. There has also been a lot of investment into training resources. She also notes that investigations are continuing, citing an increase in reports over the past few months.

"We are working tirelessly to ensure that, moving forward, this is a place where people are not only heard, but empowered," Townsend said.

There has been a lot of movement at Activision Blizzard over the past few months since the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit alleging the company fostered a toxic workplace and "frat" culture that included multiple instances of discrimination and harassment. This news falls on the same day that the company sought to pause the ongoing DFEH lawsuit, noting recent ethic violation allegations brought about by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Windows Central has reached out to the ABetterABK workers alliance for comment and will update if we hear back.

Carli Velocci
Gaming Lead, Copy Chief

Carli is the Gaming Editor and Copy Chief across Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. Her last name also will remind you of a dinosaur. Follow her on Twitter or email her at