Several Blizzard Employees Fired Across Diablo IV and World of Warcraft
Blizzard has fired a few major names among their employees on Diablo IV and World of Warcraft. As of this writing, they are no longer attached to the company Slack and were referenced by a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard. These announcements have not been made public, but the employees listed that were fired were all visible in the “Cosby Suite” of 2013. This room was the domain of Alex Afrasiabi and had a huge portrait of Bill Cosby. It was filled with alcohol, and the room owner was named in the lawsuit of sexual harassment and groping female coworkers.
Which Employees Did Blizzard See Fired?
Jesse McCree, Diablo IV’s lead designer, is among the names. He might sound familiar, as he is the name used by Overwatch’s resident cowboy. In recent Overwatch competitive streams, the casters have stopped using McCree’s name, instead calling him things like “cowboy.” This is likely due to McCree’s link to Afrasiabi’s “Cosby Suite” group chat. Many people are also requesting the character in Overwatch be renamed.
Luis Barriga, Diablo IV’s game designer, was also fired by Blizzard as one of these employees. It’s unknown why, but he’s not the last of the fired employees. Jonathan LeCraft, a World of Warcraft designer, was also fired and was another employee in the Cosby Suite photo. According to Kotaku, another of those employees was put on leave last week but has yet to be let go, and that’s Cory Stockton, a lead game designer.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson made a statement, and it confirms the firing of the three. “We have a deep, talented roster of developers already in place and new leaders have been assigned where appropriate. We are confident in our ability to continue progress, deliver amazing experiences to our players, and move forward to ensure a safe, productive work environment for all.”
No official reason has been given about the firings, but it isn’t a far stretch to think it might be the current sexual harassment lawsuit that Activision Blizzard is currently facing. This comes right on the heels of the Blizzard SOC Shareholders’ open letter, demanding real, serious change at the company. In that letter, the shareholders insist that Blizzard’s response wasn’t good enough. Only time will tell if the company sees actual, real change, though.