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Updated: (Comments on Afrasiabi) Chris Metzen's Response to the Activision Blizzard Lawsuit

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We have an update on Chris Metzen's remarks in relation to the lawsuit, as he tweeted out some comments on his time with Alex Afrasiabi (who was specifically named in some claims in the lawsuit).

(Presumably "sorry nice" was meant to read "since" or similar.)

________________________________________________________

Original post:

Another response from a Blizzard veteran on the sexual harrassment and discrimination lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard, as Chris Metzen, former Senior Vice President of Story & Franchise Development, the man behind the story and lore for most Blizzard franchises up until 2016, voice of Thrall and many more has now talked about the issue. He mentions his response was "later than it should have been" and continues:

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Apologies from the leadership is just the company covering themselves in the event the CLAIMS are found to be true or actionable. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? If these people cared or thought something was going to happen they would have come out before. Especially amidst the expansion of diversity and inclusion within Blizzard the past decade.

As for the cringe response by the community in game it is nothing but kneejerk bullying. Two wrongs dont make a right. Dont approve of the alleged actions of the people that made the game? Dont play it anymore. Active users are the company's metric, not how many times an npc gets killed.

Many things people enjoy or take for granted are brought into the world by imperfect, flawed or even terrible people yet still their legacy remains. Do people remember Edison for electrocuting an elephant to death? No, they remember his contributions to the electric industry and still use his products widely. You too will continue to play and enjoy a game made by alleged harassers and evil sexists. You may say youre cancelling your sub or afk in Oribos in protest, but when your chance at virtue signaling is over you will go back to what you have been doing before.

The letters released do nothing to defend their accused employees. They either knew and did nothing or tried to do something, but could not or did not need to. Last option I can think of is, again, the company having the big wigs throw the accused under the bus to save themselves and the company. I dont like or know why that these people wait so long to come forward with their allegations. It seems to me that if you are mistreated, especially because youre a woman, you should immediately take action lest other women fall victim.

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3 hours ago, wetsocks said:

Apologies from the leadership is just the company covering themselves in the event the CLAIMS are found to be true or actionable. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? If these people cared or thought something was going to happen they would have come out before. Especially amidst the expansion of diversity and inclusion within Blizzard the past decade.

What happened to innocent until proven guilty? It still exists. But now imagine they were accused of manslaughter or so. Would your perspective change on a person because they got accused of that? And we aren't necessarily talking your brother, who you believe would never do anything wrong or so, but of a manager or so, who you might not even know well.

Of course people react to these kinds of accusations, and that is a GOOD thing. It makes us question 'Could this really have happened? What is the evidence for the accusation?' If we lean back and go 'Well, innocent for now, Live, love, forget.' it doesn't do anything to adress the situation in the first place

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Either way both sides of this will not come out unscathed.. You will have those who will be scarred for life over what happened, and the reputation of a company in the toilet..  In the end neither side really wins..

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Sorry, but nobody is tweeting or posting articles saying live love forget. I don't think anyone who wants to be taken seriously says that.

For good measure, if people reacted the way they have been AFTER he was found guilty of these acts then I don't really care what happens to the guy or the company. I only like the older games from Blizzard so I don't care too much about what happens to the company or its product pipeline as long as we get D2:R before they go under. These claims destroy the lives of those accused even when innocent. The whole point of the justice system is to treat people fairly. People who still have rights. Throwing this stuff around to destroy people's lives isn't a new concept and is suspect to motive. It shouldn't matter if it is my best friend, family member, etc or a total stranger. We are supposed to be able to rely on justice being met regardless of who it is because we use hearsay evidence. If Afriasabi was charged with manslaughter or even murder is a whole different story - the evidence required, severity of the crime not to mention its an entirely different crime altogether. Evidence required to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone killed another is not the same as being convinced someone is a creepy *filtered*. You don't treat these 2 people the same; however poorly that may be (either option is pretty *filtered*.)

Reddit, twitter, etc talk about all the letters being put out by the leadership to cover their asses. They speak to believing the believing accusers outright lest you be a shmuck and then they thrive in the responses. Let a DA pick it up based on the case's merits, not the headlines and tweets it is making. This sermon of justice equality equity vengeance is bullshit. These people either knew of it happening, took part of it, or didn't know it was going on because it wasn't. Blizzard leadership would have known if one of the most influential people that took part of creating this game, their cash cow, was doing this. Were they trying to settle and keep it quiet before the other parties refused terms and blew the story open with a lawsuit? Maybe there's a good reason it takes 10 years to come forward for justice?

Spacing between frivolous lawsuits can be quite short. Stories and lawsuits seem to have two outcomes; One is that the man is a creep and deserves the charges. The other reason is he didn't act creepy enough to get charged. Why are we so easily swayed with little to no evidence because of a twitter mob that would demand our support?

The only shamefully perpetrated acts have been by the "morally outraged." My disgust with his potentially foul acts are delayed by my disgust with the reaction of the public to forgo due process. If you are going to use this morally justified rage then use it to go after the company, not the single man. There is no way Blizzard can feign ignorance successfully. At least not if someone like Afrasiabi is actually guilty of a serious enough crime.

This instant acceptance of his guilt because of a lawsuit saying this was going on is all the proof people need? We are, at our core, good decent people. I feel our laws are supposed to impart this benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty. Justice is to smite only the wicked and the wrong. Let the man present a defense at the very least before ripping him to shreds over him potentially only getting turned down by a chick and accidentally making her freak out versus groping and acting like a stupid pig. Definitions can be pretty vague and range in severity of the sentence. Nobody wants to be around that. Its uncomfortable at best and can easily be that worst part of your day that you know is going to hang around you.

Live, love, forgo the due process.

 

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Well, to me it seems we are on the same page on the topic over all. We both demand that we look into the evidence and take action according to that.

Innocent until proven guilty is a concept of the justice system, not one that is embedded into general public. I think everyone of us has had to deal with rumours about us before. I see this as the same, just with already enough backing, that it is reasonable to start a lawsuit. Lawyers will advise you against taking one, if the chances of winning are incredibly slim or nonexistent.

I don't argue for forming mobs and going after either the company nor the people involved, I am arguing for people taking in the situation and forming their opinion on the topic based on the evidence. The problem a lot of people in society, especially on reddit, twitter and all have, is they take the accusation itself already as evidence. This obviously is a step too far. The accusation should ring an alarm bell 'Something seems to be going on here. I better pay some attention.'

Now another problem lies with how news and human attention span work in general. This comes up now, the lawsuit going public, people reacting to it, it will trend and people will care about it. Naturally in a month or two, less people will talk about it and then when the lawsuit is eventually resolved in a few years, people will talk about it again. This raises the issue of a very delayed response. What do we do in the meantime? Treat everything as normal and wait, take action later? Should we adress the matter now and look into it on our own, try to better it inside that company and look for ways to improve our community? Or maybe we forgo all process and just stamp the accused as guilty and better the company that way?

I would out of those three option the middle one is the way forward. We adress the underlying issue, since sexism isn't a thing just at ABK. We take every time something like this happens, which is fairly often now, and use it to raise more and more awareness of a topic that is in dire need of more and more attention.

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11 hours ago, wetsocks said:

Apologies from the leadership is just the company covering themselves in the event the CLAIMS are found to be true or actionable. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? If these people cared or thought something was going to happen they would have come out before. Especially amidst the expansion of diversity and inclusion within Blizzard the past decade.

This is different, because it's not a case when some people just come out and are making accusations against company. This is a lawsuit with results of two years of investigation by the state of California. It presents sexual harassment as a fact. What this is truly about is that it accuses company for the lack of action after harassment happened. It is an important difference, which many people commenting seemed to overlook (especially on some other sites). 

Btw, not just former but even some current employees confirmed that many of those things indeed happened. There is no way that all of this is fake and never happened, as some people defending the company have suggested.

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12 hours ago, wetsocks said:

Apologies from the leadership is just the company covering themselves in the event the CLAIMS are found to be true or actionable. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? If these people cared or thought something was going to happen they would have come out before. Especially amidst the expansion of diversity and inclusion within Blizzard the past decade.

As for the cringe response by the community in game it is nothing but kneejerk bullying. Two wrongs dont make a right. Dont approve of the alleged actions of the people that made the game? Dont play it anymore. Active users are the company's metric, not how many times an npc gets killed.

Many things people enjoy or take for granted are brought into the world by imperfect, flawed or even terrible people yet still their legacy remains. Do people remember Edison for electrocuting an elephant to death? No, they remember his contributions to the electric industry and still use his products widely. You too will continue to play and enjoy a game made by alleged harassers and evil sexists. You may say youre cancelling your sub or afk in Oribos in protest, but when your chance at virtue signaling is over you will go back to what you have been doing before.

The letters released do nothing to defend their accused employees. They either knew and did nothing or tried to do something, but could not or did not need to. Last option I can think of is, again, the company having the big wigs throw the accused under the bus to save themselves and the company. I dont like or know why that these people wait so long to come forward with their allegations. It seems to me that if you are mistreated, especially because youre a woman, you should immediately take action lest other women fall victim.

I dont think it is useless virute signaling. He admits to being wrong, and outlines to actually talk to women (or any group you think might be suffering, imo) and learn about it in real time. 

 

Does he mean it? I can't tell, I'm not a mind reader. But just acknolwedging one way to make things better can be a good thing, especially as it signals men who might otherwise be hurtful that this behavior is no longer deemed normal. Many men wouldn't have hurt women if it wasn't such a pervasive part of the culture. 

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The biggest problem with this message of men needing to be more "aware and compassionate" towards woman is built upon this idea women have that men are just waiting for men to attack them and I'm sorry even though yes pretty much every man can bare handedly kill a woman it's incredibly sexist just to assume and fear all men for this idea. There are plenty of men who could kill me, I don't shudder in fear while standing at a bus stop with one or is my uber driver. Until women are conditioned to see men not as potential assailants but as people there is no room for correction. These people don't report the clearly reprehensible garbage that was being done cause they have this mind set that if HR or bosses are men they are okay with what is going on because they honest to god believe men just love assaulting and abusing women. It would be like being afraid to report being bullied by a white kid to a white teacher fearing he'll side with the kid just cause he's white, it's an insane and unhealthy mindset.

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9 hours ago, Andser said:

EDITED OUT

ya, if only activision/bliz would have only hired straight white men and ignored everyone else, no matter their qualifications, there wouldn't have been any discrimination to deal with then.  That's solid logic, friend.

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On 7/24/2021 at 8:23 PM, wetsocks said:

I dont like or know why that these people wait so long to come forward with their allegations. It seems to me that if you are mistreated, especially because youre a woman, you should immediately take action lest other women fall victim.

Spoken like someone who has never been in a situation of abuse. 

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We have decided to lock this thread due to the nature of some of the comments posted here.

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      GAAP Net Revenues
        $2,070
        $1,970
        $1,954
      Impact of GAAP deferralsA
        ($190)
        ($120)
        ($187)
       
         
         
         
      GAAP EPS
        $0.82
        $0.64
        $0.78
      Non-GAAP EPS
        $0.89
        $0.75
        $0.88
      Impact of GAAP deferralsA
        ($0.17)
        ($0.10)
        ($0.17)
       
         
         
          * Prior outlook was provided by the company on August 3, 2021 in its earnings release.
      Please refer to the tables at the back of this earnings release for a reconciliation of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results.
      For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $2.07 billion, as compared with $1.95 billion for the third quarter of 2020. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $1.85 billion. GAAP operating margin was 40%. GAAP earnings per diluted share was $0.82, as compared with $0.78 for the third quarter of 2020. On a non-GAAP basis, Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 43% and earnings per diluted share was $0.89, as compared with $0.88 for the third quarter of 2020.
      For the quarter, operating cash flow was $521 million, as compared with $196 million for the third quarter of 2020. For the trailing twelve-month period, operating cash flow was $2.89 billion.
      Please refer to the tables at the back of this press release for a reconciliation of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results.
      Operating Metrics
      For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, Activision Blizzard’s net bookingsB were $1.88 billion, as compared with $1.77 billion for the third quarter of 2020. In-game net bookingsC were $1.20 billion consistent with the third quarter of 2020.
      For the quarter ended September 30, 2021, overall Activision Blizzard Monthly Active Users (MAUs)D were 390 million.
      Commitment to a Safe, Inclusive Working Environment
      We are committed to becoming the most welcoming, inclusive company in our industry. We are taking further steps to advance our commitment with greater impact, transparency, and urgency.
      We are adding staff and resources to our ethics and compliance and employee relations teams. We are continuing to thoroughly investigate each and every claim and complaint that we receive. As a result of this process, more than 20 individuals have exited the company in recent months. We are implementing a zero-tolerance harassment policy across Activision Blizzard that will be applied consistently. Our goal is to have the strictest harassment and non-retaliation policies of any employer. Based on feedback from employees, we are waiving required arbitration of future individual sexual harassment and discrimination claims. We have introduced the goal of increasing the percentage of women and non-binary people in our workforce by 50% within the next five years, to more than one-third across the entire company. We plan to invest an additional $250 million over the next 10 years in initiatives that foster expanded opportunities in gaming and technology for under-represented communities. To help us continue to recruit, retain and promote employees from all backgrounds and identities, we are implementing the requirement for a diverse slate of candidates for all full-time open positions. A review of 2020 U.S. pay equity at our company conducted by an independent firm showed that women on average earned slightly more than men for comparable work in 2020. We are committed to compensation remaining equitable for men and women performing comparable work in 2021, and beyond. In September we announced a comprehensive agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is subject to court approval, to strengthen policies and programs intended to further improve the prevention of harassment, discrimination, and related conduct. As part of the agreement, we will establish an $18 million fund to compensate those who have experienced such behavior at our company and elect to participate.
      The company continues to monitor the progress of its business units, franchise teams, and functional leaders with respect to workplace initiatives. We will continue to provide regular updates to all stakeholders.
      Selected Business Highlights
      Activision Blizzard’s third quarter results were above our outlook. Third quarter monthly active usersD were consistent with the year-ago level, even as regions continued to re-open, while net bookingsB and operating income grew year-over-year. This performance again illustrates the structural expansion that our talented and passionate teams have driven in our largest franchises as they created new ways for players to interact with our intellectual properties, including free-to-play experiences. We continue to increase investment in creative talent so that we can grow and delight the communities for each of our key franchises.
      Activision
      The Call of Duty® ecosystem sustained reach, engagement, and player investment well above levels seen prior to the introduction of free-to-play experiences across console, PC, and mobile. Activision segment revenue grew year-over-year to a new record on a year-to-date basis. Segment revenue was lower year-over-year in the third quarter due to the launch of Tony Hawk’sTM Pro SkaterTM 1 + 2 in the year ago quarter and declines in Call of Duty against a quarter that benefited from shelter-at-home mandates and the early ramp of WarzoneTM. Activision had 119 million MAUsD in the third quarter. MAUsD in the Call of Duty franchise were consistent year-over-year on console and PC and grew on mobile. On console and PC, Call of Duty MAUsD and time spent exhibited very similar retention from Q2 to Q3 as our experiences in prior years. In-game player investment on console and PC remained well above the level seen prior to the Warzone launch, at approximately three times the level of Q3 2019. Strong conversion from free-to-play drove premium sales higher than in any third quarter prior to the launch of Warzone. For Call of Duty Mobile, net bookings grew over 40% year-over-year in the third quarter, driven by double digit growth in the West and a continued contribution from the game in China. Call of Duty: Vanguard will release on November 5, followed by the roll out of Call of Duty: Warzone Pacific, the biggest update to the Warzone experience since launch, on December 2. Blizzard
      Blizzard segment revenue grew 20% year-over-year in the third quarter, driven by the successful launch of Diablo® II: ResurrectedTM. Blizzard had 26 million MAUsD in the third quarter. For Diablo, our plan to enter an era of unprecedented content scale for the franchise has experienced a strong start with the September release of Diablo II: Resurrected, the return of one of the most acclaimed titles in PC gaming history. First week sales of the title were the highest recorded for a remaster from the company. On mobile, Diablo® ImmortalTM is in public testing, and remains on track for release in the first half of next year. World of Warcraft® reach and engagement continues to benefit from the combination of the Modern game and Classic under a single subscription. World of Warcraft is on track to deliver its strongest engagement and net bookings outside of a Modern expansion year in a decade. Hearthstone® net bookings were stable year-over-year in the third quarter. In October, the team launched MercenariesTM, an innovative role-playing mode that gives existing, returning and new Hearthstone players an entirely new way to play the game. King
      King segment revenue grew 22% year-over-year to a new quarterly record, with very strong year-over-year trends for both in-app purchases and advertising. King had 245 million MAUsD in the third quarter. Hours played across the King portfolio grew year-over-year in the third quarter, with players responding positively to a more frequent cadence of compelling in-game content and events for key titles. Payer numbers grew by a double-digit percentage versus the year ago quarter. In-game net bookings for Candy CrushTM grew over 20% year-over-year, with Candy Crush once again the top-grossing game franchise in the U.S. app stores1. At the end of the third quarter King launched the Candy Crush All Stars U.S. tournament which has driven meaningful increases in installs, game rounds played and in-app purchases in recent weeks. King has been accelerating and refining content delivery in Farm HeroesTM, its second largest franchise. This work continued to bear fruit in the third quarter, and in-game net bookings have grown around 20% year-over-year on a year-to-date basis. King’s advertising business grew robustly, with quarterly revenue growing sequentially and year-over-year to a new high. Both volume and pricing grew strongly year-over-year, benefiting from the team’s growing relationships with demand partners and the ongoing ramp of new categories of advertisers. Company Outlook
      (in millions, except EPS)
        GAAP
      Outlook
       
      Non-GAAP
      Outlook
       
      Impact of GAAP
      deferralsA
      CY 2021
         
       
       
       
       
      Net Revenues
        $8,660
       
      $8,660
       
      ($10)
      EPS
        $3.27
       
      $3.70
       
      $0.06
      Fully Diluted Shares
        784
       
      784
       
       
       
         
       
       
       
       
      Q4 2021
         
       
       
       
       
      Net Revenues
        $2,020
       
      $2,020
       
      $763
      EPS
        $0.54
       
      $0.62
       
      $0.67
      Fully Diluted Shares
        785
       
      785
       
       
      Net bookingsB are expected to be $8.65 billion for 2021 and $2.78 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021.
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