Months after the bombshell sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against Activision Blizzard by the State of California, the company’s chief compliance officer Fran Townsend has said in a staff email that over 20 individuals have “exited,” while more than 20 other individuals have faced “other types of disciplinary action.” This information was first revealed in an interview with the Financial Times.
In the interview, Townsend didn’t name any of the individuals who have left, nor did she clarify whether they were fired, asked to leave, or departed willingly. These departures come following “an increase in reports” over recent months at Activision Blizzard, with some employees reporting concerns and incidents from years ago to the present day.
All this became public news in July when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for fostering an environment of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation over the years. Townsend herself became involved in the controversy after first downplaying and dismissing the lawsuit, calling it “meritless and irresponsible” and the claims in it “false and distorted” in a company email.
The lawsuit and the initial reaction by Townsend and Activision Blizzard led to a company-wide employee walkout, massive internal changes, an investor-led class-action lawsuit, and several other companies dropping or re-assessing their sponsorships of the Overwatch and Call of Duty League.
In the most recent email sent by Townsend, she also relayed that the team is “tripling” their investment into training resources, hiring 19 full-time employees to the ethics and compliance team, and encouraging other employees with incidents and concerns to report by promising as much transparency “as the investigative process allows.”