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Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Jessica Gonzalez, a senior test analyst at Activision Blizzard who has been instrumental in employees' collective action efforts, is resigning from the company.

Driving the news: Gonzalez, who's been with the company for over two years, announced her resignation internally and via Twitter on Tuesday, noting that her last day will be Dec. 10: "I have made the decision to leave Blizzard by putting my wellbeing first," she wrote.

  • "I regret that I couldn't meet my colleagues under better circumstances, but I take our shared vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and workers' rights with me and value the work that we've done during my time here," she wrote.
  • "I believe with enough education and awareness ABK can be a great place to be. There's lots of work to do still and I am mentally wounded from this fight. It's been a long and exhausting road for change, but it isn't over."

In a message specifically addressed to CEO Bobby Kotick, Gonzalez says he had "years to fix the culture."

  • "Your inaction and refusal to take accountability is driving out great talent and the products will suffer until you are removed from your position as CEO."
  • Activision Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment.

Catch up: A Better ABK, a group of employees working to unionize, staged a walkout — their second in roughly five months — on Nov. 16, following a Wall Street Journal report that Kotick was aware of sexual misconduct at the company, despite claims to the contrary.

  • "It's almost as if they're begging us to unionize," an Activision Blizzard employee told Axios after the walkout.
  • Industry figures like Xbox's Phil Spencer and PlayStation's Jim Ryan have been critical of Activision Blizzard leadership's handling of its widespread problems, while others have called for Kotick's resignation.
  • Activision Blizzard's board of directors, however, has stood by Kotick, saying they remain "confident in Bobby Kotick's leadership, commitment and ability to achieve these goals.”
  • An open letter from employees currently has more than 1,850 signatures calling for Kotick to step down. Gonzalez is the second name on that petition.
  • Notably, the November walkout came together in a matter of hours, as opposed to the longer planning period the first required in July. In conversations with Axios, employees have credited that speed to Gonzalez.

The big picture: Gonzalez has been a vocal critic of Activision Blizzard's handling of its ongoing harassment and misconduct scandal, as well as an important internal advocate for change.

  • Gonzalez spearheaded efforts for the most recent walkout and was heavily involved in organizing the first. One employee told Axios that she gave "a voice" to tensions within the company: "She gave it the push it needed to become what is now going on with A Better ABK."
  • Senior engineer Valentine Powell has worked with Gonzalez over her time there to improve work conditions. They told Axios that the company is "losing a pillar of culture" at the company.
  • "Her efforts have rippled out and encouraged others to stand up and speak out about their own lives and experiences," they said, pointing to her advocacy on topics such as accessibility changes and improved hiring practices.
  • "She has been a constant voice for her whole time at ABK, pushing to see life get better for marginalized groups in all of our companies," Powell said.

What's next: Gonzalez told Axios that organization efforts within the company "are still going strong and I will still be supporting ABK workers in organizing."

  • "The group is more than her, but she was the spark that started the explosion," one employee told Axios.

Go deeper

Organizers slam Activision Blizzard for “union busting”

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Activision Blizzard is asking employees to “take time to consider the consequences” of workers’ recent efforts to unionize, a tactic some organizers are calling "union busting."

Driving the news: Chief administrative officer Brian Bulatao sent an internal email on Friday, claiming that employees signing union cards “will have signed over to [the Communications Workers of America] the exclusive right to ‘represent [you]’...that means your ability to negotiate all your own working conditions will be turned over to CWA.”

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.