A new report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has shed new light on why Jennifer Oneal only had a brief stint as co-head of Blizzard alongside Mike Ybarra after J. Allen Brack stepped down. She was appointed in August 2021 but later announced her decision to leave the role in early November 2021.
Back then, she explained that she was resigning to “transition to a new position before departing ABK at the end of the year”. She also said that this is “not without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite” and that “this energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect.”
However, the report by the WSJ strongly suggests otherwise. According to the report, she resigned because she felt “tokenized, marginalized, 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 prioritize our people the right way.”
It also revealed that the allegations of harassment and toxic culture at the company were already known by CEO Bobby Kotick, as well as Oneal sending an email to a member of Activision’s legal team, which read: “It was clear that the company would never prioritize our people the right way.” and she even“professed a lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to turn the culture around.”
The same email also shockingly revealed that she had been sexually harassed at the company earlier in her career and that she was allegedly being paid less than Ybarra, who is supposed to be her equal. The WSJ report also describes a 2007 party that both Oneal and Kotick attend, which had “scantily clad women dancing on stripper poles” with a DJ who “encouraged female attendees to drink more so the men would have a better time.”
All of this is more bad news for a company already under fire for so many controversial activities. So much so that they recently announced that the annual BlizzCon 2022 has been cancelled.