Following Activision Blizzard lawsuit for alleged widespread sexual harassment and discrimination, the developers of World of Warcraft issued a statement saying it would remove references from the game that "are not appropriate for the (game)," that is, probably NPCs and articles related to former creative director Alex Afrasiabi who was named directly on the lawsuit as the alleged sexual abuser. Since the lawsuit was made public, other women have also filed charges against Afrasiabi, who left the company in 2020, for sexual assault and harassment.
The message, posted on WoW forums and social media channels, is the first time the development team has officially addressed the community since the allegations were made public last week.
"The last few days have been a time of reflection for the World of Warcraft team, dedicated to conversation and contemplation, full of sadness, pain and anger, but also of hope and resolution," he says. the statement. "While paying attention to the brave women who have come forward to share their experiences, we are committed to taking the necessary actions to ensure an inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for both our team and our players at Azeroth. "Those of us who lead lead understand that it is not our place to judge when we have achieved our goals, but to let our team and our community know when we still have more to do."
Over the “next few days,” players will see several references removed from the game that the developers deem no longer acceptable. Blizzard did not specify which, however two NPCs related to Afrasiabi they are likely candidates. Over the past week, players have also highlighted other troubling areas of the game, including a mission where players capture and torture a harpy (half sensitive women and half birds) for information before deciding to release or kill her.
“We know that in order to rebuild trust, we need to earn it with our actions in the coming weeks and months,” Blizzard said. "But let's move forward knowing that we share the same vision as our community about creating a place where people of all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations and backgrounds can thrive and be proud."
Last week, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing announced that it was suing Activision Blizzard for widespread sexual abuse and discrimination against its female and minority employees. While Activision Blizzard has publicly dismissed the lawsuit, claiming it presents "distorted and, in many cases, false, descriptions of Blizzard's past," employees feel the opposite. More than 2,500 have signed an open letter condemning the official response by the executive team and employees are also organizing a Wednesday in protest.