In recent weeks, many statements have uncovered accusations that portray a toxic and unfair work environment at Activision and Blizzard Entertainment. Among these accusations is the harassment lawsuit that the company has recently faced for having no locks on its lactation rooms, which resulted in a difficult experience for female employees, particularly. Recently, Bloomberg reported that Blizzard Entertainment’s President, J. Allen Brack, departed from the company over a labour lawsuit, following the injustice that employees confronted at the company. Soon after, Blizzard Entertainment’s Head of HR, Jesse Meschuk, also left the company after the company faced accusations of harassment and abuse.
As of today, Coca-Cola and State Farm — two of its major sponsors — have also withdrawn from Blizzard Entertainment’s professional Overwatch e-Sports tournament, Overwatch League, following the recent sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit that the company has faced. As reported by Washington Post, a spokesperson for State Farm — which first became the sponsor for the Overwatch League in 2019 — said that the insurance provider is “reevaluating our limited marketing relationship with the Overwatch League” and the company has requested that “no advertisements run during the matches this weekend.”
According to Washington Post, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola said on Wednesday that the company is “aware of the allegations surrounding Activision Blizzard,” and that they’ve been closely monitoring the circumstances. “We are working with our partners at Blizzard as we take a step back for a moment to revisit future plans and programs,” read the statement. Additionally, the spokesperson for Coca-Cola denied commenting on whether or not the company would continue to sponsor the Overwatch League in the future.
Both Coca-Cola and State Farm withdrew from the Overwatch League just a few days after the communication firm, T-Mobile, was removed from the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League websites. While T-Mobile released no statement regarding the withdrawal, it’s safe to assume that it, too, wants no part of the harassment lawsuit on Blizzard Entertainment’s hands. Blizzard Entertainment’s employees have been forcing the company for necessary reforms and it seems like their struggles are accomplishing results.
As of right now, both Coca-Cola and State Farm remain mentioned as corporate sponsors on the Overwatch League website, alongside Xfinity, IBM, Cheez-It, Pringles, and Teamspeak. With the Overwatch League 2021 playoffs coming back to in-person events after well over a year of suspending live-action competitions due to COVID-19, the timing couldn’t have been worse for Blizzard Entertainment.
According to Washington Post, Overwatch League and Blizzard Entertainment still hasn’t commented on the recent accusations after reiterated requests for comment. Earlier this week, Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, promised that “people will be held responsible for their actions,” and assured to firing any employees or managers found convicted of such offences. Washington Post has also reached out to other corporate sponsors of the Overwatch League. However, they haven’t yet responded to the accusations faced by Blizzard Entertainment.
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