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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

Oct 29, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Halloween Blizzard of 1991: It's OK to reminisce and to tune out

These kids, just like Nick, had a blast in the Halloween blizzard. Photo: Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Image

We're about to mark the 30th anniversary of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 and if you immediately want to delete this newsletter, I understand.

Minnesotans of a certain age love to talk about that massive blizzard, which dumped 28 inches — still a record for a storm here by a margin of 7 inches — over the course of three days. Duluth got 37 inches!

  • Non-lifelong or younger Minnesotans should be forgiven if they're sick of hearing about it.
Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."