Yesterday, a former Blizzard employee alleged that a co-worker at the company subjected him to racist abuse and discrimination. Jules M.C., who worked on Hearthstone's esports side before moving to Blizzard's esports business operations - and ultimately leaving the company - explained his experience in an extended Twitter post.
M.C.'s claims of unchecked discrimination are the latest problem facing Blizzard, which has recently been enshrouded in controversy. Reports of Activision's increasing stranglehold on the studio, disappointing game announcements, and the departure of numerous executives have contributed to the sense that something's amiss at the studio that has long been beloved for its classic IPs.
In his Twitter post, M.C. claims that a co-worker named Gemma Barreda consistently characterized him as sexist both in private conversations and to other co-workers throughout 2016. He says that Barreda - who still works at Blizzard, according to her LinkedIn profile - would base her allegations of his sexism on his Mexican background. M.C. also details his spiral into depression and anxiety, which led him to take a leave of absence. The effects of the abuse, he says, culminated in his departure from the company in 2018, after he repeatedly spoke with higher-ups to no avail.
I want to start off by thanking everyone for the kindness. At first I wrote this out of anger, and as I wrote...out of closure. If there's a takeaway: You're not alone. Reach out. And if you have suicidal thoughts: share with someone you love. You'll never walk alone.— Jules M.C. (@Psychlolis) January 8, 2019
Part of M.C.'s post describes his reaction to Blizzard's recent reveal that Overwatch character Soldier: 76 is gay. He was triggered by the announcement of 76's sexuality, he says, explaining, "The reason why it triggered me wasn’t the message, but who it was coming from: Blizzard Entertainment. The idea of inclusion, of representation, and 'every voice matters' and 'think globally' never meant that for me and other people of color I have spoken to." His stance resembles that of some critics of Soldier: 76's characterization, namely that rather than being an honest attempt to diversity the game's characters, it is part of "Blizzard's very convenient gay smokescreen."
When allegations such as M.C.'s come to light, everyone involved - employers, employees, bystanders - has an obligation to take them seriously. Of course, what M.C. has presented in his Twitter post remains unsubstantiated, and Blizzard has yet to issue a statement on the matter. But as the MeToo movement has made undeniable, entertainment-focused workspaces have long been hotbeds of inappropriate behavior - be it sexism, racism, or anything else. That extends to video game companies, too, as former employees of Riot Games made clear in a Kotaku report last August. Given that the allegations only surfaced yesterday, it will take time to get to the bottom of what exactly happened throughout M.C.'s tenure at Blizzard. But one thing is certain: Blizzard stands on shaky ground, as its issues only appear to multiply with time.
Source: Jules M.C.