Blizzard has promised to remove content “not appropriate for” World of Warcraft, likely in response to in-game references to creative director Alex Afrasiabi. This announcement comes after a short period of silence following the publication of a California state lawsuit against the company, which alleges Activision Blizzard fostered a pervasive environment of harassment against its female employees.
“The past days have been a time of reflection for the World of Warcraft team, spent in conversation and contemplation, full of sadness, pain, and anger, but also hope and resolve,” the statement says. “As we heed the brave women who have come forward to share their experiences, we stand committed to taking the actions necessary to ensure we are providing an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment both for our team and for our players in Azeroth.”
Afrasiabi was named in the suit as a particularly heinous offender in the Activision Blizzard corporate structure. His office was allegedly nicknamed the “Crosby Suite” (likely a typo in the lawsuit, for “Cosby”) in reference to the sexual assault charges against actor Bill Cosby.
The suit reads:
During a company event (an annual convention called Blizz Con) Afrasiabi would hit on female employees, telling them he wanted to marry them, attempting to kiss them, and putting his arms around them. This was in plain view of other male employees, including supervisors, who had to intervene and pull him off female employees. Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite was nicknamed the “Crosby Suite” after alleged rapist Bill Crosby. Afrasiabi would also call females derogatory names at company events. Afrasiabi’s conduct was known to Blizzard Entertainment’s executives, who took no effective remedial measures. J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard Entertainment, allegedly had multiple conversations with Afrasiabi about his drinking and that he had been “too friendly” towards female employees at company events but gave Afiasiabi a slap on the wrist (ie. verbal counseling) in response to these incidents.
Afrasiabi appears to have left the company around 2020, with little fanfare or mention from the company.
Correction 7/28: Afrasiabi is no longer at Blizzard.