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Image: Neville Elder / Getty Images

Mike Morhaime, who co-founded and worked at video game studio Blizzard for 28 years, has apologized publicly for toxic work conditions at his former studio, which is now the subject of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit by the state of California.

Why it matters: Morhaime is no longer at Blizzard, but was its leader for most of its existence and therefore was in charge when much of what is alleged in California’s suit would have occurred.

  • “It is the responsibility of leadership to stamp out toxicity and harassment in any form, across all levels of the company,” he wrote on Twitter.
  • “To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.”
  • “Real people have been harmed, and some women had terrible experiences.”

What they’re saying: Morhaime’s statement has been met with some gratitude that he said anything but also with criticism that so much happened on his watch.

  • Critics, including former Blizzard employees, said they found it implausible that Morhaime wouldn’t have been aware of the depth of the studio’s problems.

The big picture: Current management at Blizzard and sister company, Activision, have sent mixed signals in recent days.

  • Messages sent to employees have alternated between calling the allegations in the lawsuit “deeply disturbing” to slamming the department that brought them for bringing a “meritless lawsuit.”
  • Some Blizzard employees have publicly criticized the company’s harsher statements, saying they believe the allegations, according to a PC Gamer report.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 31, 2021 - Technology

Apple's crumbling wall of silence

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Long-quiet Apple employees are beginning to speak their minds. In recent weeks they've talked publicly about experiences with harassment and discrimination, concerns about business decisions, and objections to policies that some feel open their personal lives to corporate scrutiny.

Why it matters: Employee activism has been on the rise across Silicon Valley, but until recently, Apple workers have largely avoided public criticism of their employer.

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate offices closing ahead of "Justice for J6" demonstration

Security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple congressional offices will be closed Friday amid security precautions ahead of Saturday's rally in support of jailed Jan. 6 rioters, aides who have been instructed to work remotely tell Axios.

Why it matters: As the U.S. Capitol faces its first large-scale security test since the deadly attack, House and Senate offices are taking precautionary measures to protect staff as well as lawmakers.