Activision has cut all ties with Jeff Leach, the voice actor behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Ghost Operator, after sexist comments made by Leach resurfaced on social media.
Jeff Leach was the voice actor behind the Ghost character in Modern Warfare 2019 and Warzone. The entire original Modern Warfare cast was re-casted for the 2019 reboot, and Leach voiced Ghost when the character was added as an operator in Season 2 in February 2020.
The news of Activision ending their working relationship with Leach comes as sexist comments made by Jeff Leach have resurfaced online after streamers and community members were questioning why Leach still had partners within the industry.
A Twitter thread posted shows sexist comments Leach made about streamer ZombiUnicorn in 2017, as well as other more recent comments during a stream on Facebook Gaming, and asked why he still has partnerships with Facebook Gaming and Activision.
Leach has been streaming on Facebook Gaming as an official partner in 2020 and has been frequently streaming Warzone.
One of the clips shows Leach, while playing Call of Duty: Warzone, saying, “I love how it’s always like some dirty, dirty, gross f**king looking emo b**ch who looks like she f**king has no chance of getting a bit of d**k in her.”
These clips are believed to be from a live stream that occurred in December 2020.
ZombiUnicorn since replied in their own video response on Twitter, asking why Facebook and Activision still have partnerships with Leach.
In a new statement sent to CharlieIntel on May 8th, Activision says they have ended all working relationships with Jeff Leach and “condemn” all of his remarks.
“Sexism has no place in our industry, our games or in society,” Activision says in a new statement. “Activision is no longer working with Jeff Leach. We strongly condemn these remarks. We are committed to delivering a fun and safe experience for all players.”
Facebook Gaming has not commented on Jeff Leach’s comments at this time.
What this means for the future of Ghost Operator in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone remains to be seen and was not addressed in this statement.
Feature Image: Jeff Leach Twitter
Activision Blizzard hires new head of HR as harassment lawsuit scandal continues
Activision Blizzard hires two new executives as fallout over the harassment lawsuit continues.
Activision Blizzard has announced the hiring of two new senior executives as the company continues to face challenges with the harassment and diversity lawsuit.
The new executives will join later this month, with one coming from The Walt Disney Company, and other from Delta Airlines.
The first new hire is Julie Hodges, who will be joining the company as the Chief People Officer. Hodges worked at The Walt Disney Company for years.
Activision Blizzard says she will be responsible for building and reshaping the company’s corporate HR and people team.
Activision Blizzard’s press release describes her role as:
Ms. Hodges brings more than three decades of global human resources experience in entertainment and an impeccable record of shaping corporate culture. She will be responsible for the company’s global talent organization, making Activision Blizzard the destination for top talent. In her role, she will lead all aspects of human resources, including diversity, equity and inclusion, talent acquisition, employee experience, learning and development, compensation and benefits and workforce planning.
“I can’t think of a better person to join our team and help lead our ongoing commitment to an inclusive workplace,” Kotick said. “Julie is the seasoned leader we need to ensure we are the most inspiring, equitable and emulated entertainment company in the world.”
“I share the company’s belief that a work environment should welcome all perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds,” Hodges said. “A workforce where everyone feels valued is critical to the success of our business, as is a trusting, engaging and safe environment that encourages creativity and innovation and in which all employees can thrive. It takes a collective effort to do this, and I’m looking forward to ensuring that we support the diversity of our talent to bring our people together and continue creating amazing entertainment.”
Per the company’s press release, the current Chief People Officer Claudine Naughton is leaving the company. This comes as Activision Blizzard is engulfed in the harassment and diversity lawsuit scandal in the state of California.
The lawsuit, which first came to light on July 21, has shined a light on many of the incidents that took place at Activision Blizzard – from sexual harassment, in-equality, lack of diversity, and more.
The state of California recently further updated their lawsuit to claim Activision Blizzard’s HR team was shredding documents relevant to their investigation.
Ms. Hodges will start her role on September 21 in a rocky time for the company. Employees continue to demand action and change from the executives, including the removal of arbitration clauses. The employees formed a group recently, A Better ABK, to jointly file a labor suit against the company.
The company said in the press release that these new hires will “help the company build a more inclusive workplace as well as diversify and grow its revenue.”
Activision Blizzard also announced another new executive joining the company. Sandeep Dube will join the company from Delta Airlines as the new Chief Commercial Officer. Dube replaces Armin Zerza’s open role, who was promoted to Chief Financial Officer.
Activision Blizzard press release says Mr. Dube will oversee Activision’s global Sales and Go-To-Market teams. He will be responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategy and delivering on the company’s revenue growth plan.
“Sandeep is a rare leader who not only has the ability to expand our global go-to-market teams, but also bring his diverse experience from an accomplished career to unite our commercial group,” Mr. Kotick said. “Our mission is to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment. While Sandeep connected the world through air travel at Delta, he created a growth-oriented culture that was focused on the very best customer experiences. The innovations he inspired created incredible customer loyalty. We are excited to continue our work on revenue growth with an even greater focus on recognizing and rewarding our players.”
Mr. Dube said, “I couldn’t be more excited to join this team and work together to continue building our inclusive culture and to expand our audiences.”
Dube will start his role on September 27.
Call of Duty Twitter account trolls banned hacker in new video
Call of Duty took to Twitter recently to show off how effective its anti-cheat system has been recently ahead of its new PC anti-cheat coming in the future.
Call of Duty has been affected by hackers for a very long time now, especially within Warzone. However, with the latest updates to the anti-cheat system, it seems the developers have finally got some positive results.
With the announcement of Call of Duty: Vanguard and its integration into Warzone, players were also told that the game would receive a brand new PC anti-cheat system to fend off the hackers who have been causing a great deal of frustration in the community.
Although the developers had been fairly quiet about the hacking situation and issues in Warzone, it seems they have finally got some revenge on cheaters creating as many accounts as they wanted to bypass ban waves.
Originally, hackers have just been able to create new accounts after being banned, allowing them to continue cheating and ruining the game for others. However, a recent video by a player showed that he had been hardware banned and could not play on any accounts on his PC.
This is shown in the video posted by Call of Duty, where a hacker is showing how they are unable to create a new account and use it to cheat: “I’ve been cheating for a little bit, it’s been fun…but every one of my accounts are banned, every single one with even me playing it.”
Although this video was a troll, it is a great way of advertising their anti-cheat strategy to entice players like NICKMERCS back to the game. In recent weeks, many streamers and content creators had been switching over to Apex Legends due to the abundance of hackers in Warzone.
Luckily, it seems the developers have the situation more under control than they have in the past and will be looking to squash the hacking problem completely when the new PC anti-cheat system arrives during the upcoming Call of Duty: Vanguard cycle.
This is a great step for the developers at Call of Duty, as it adds another tool to the list when it comes to preventing cheaters and hackers in Warzone and Multiplayer.
For more on Call of Duty, check out our article on every confirmed change from the Vanguard Alpha.
Image Credits: Activision / Call of Duty
California updates Activision Blizzard harassment lawsuit, claiming company is ‘shredding’ documents
California state government files updated lawsuit with more claims against Activision Blizzard as investigation continues.
The California State Government’s DFEH has updated its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard to now include temp-workers’ experience, and also state that the company’s HR is not properly keeping records for their investigation.
First reported by Axios, in an updated filing, the DFEH claims that Activision Blizzard’s HR team is not saving records related to the investigation, which is impeding their ability to move forward.
The initial lawsuit, which was filed on July 21, claimed numerous cases of harassment, inequality, and more took place at Blizzard’s side of Activision Blizzard.
The DFEH states that the company has a policy of “shredding” documents of employees who’ve left the company within 30 days.
The California government requires employers to keep records for up to 2 years. It says, “documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel.”
Further, the government claims that Activision Blizzard has required employees to sign NDAs, speak internally before contacting the DFEH which is impeding their investigation.
The updated lawsuit also claims that Activision Blizzard adding in a review of the company via WilmerHale law group has further caused issues.
The updated lawsuit claim that these actions “directly interfere” with their ability to “investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination and harassment violations on behalf of employees and contingent or temporary workers.”
The new filing also added in mentions that experiences of harassment and inequality “exist for employees and contingent or temporary workers.” The initial lawsuit only covered full time employees.
Following this lawsuit’s update being surfaced, Activision Blizzard responded with a lengthy statement, one that differs in tone from their original attack on the DFEH.
The company claims that they have “complied with every proper request in support” of the DFEH’s review.
Their full statement is below:
“Throughout our engagement with the DFEH, we have complied with every proper request in support of its review even as we had been implementing reforms to ensure our workplaces are welcoming and safe for every employee. Those changes continue today, and include:
- Several high-level personnel changes;
- Revamped hiring and recruiting practices requiring diverse interview panels;
- Greater transparency on pay equity;
- Expanded and improved training and investigative capabilities for human resource and compliance staff;
- Created investigation teams outside of business units to support greater independence;
- Restructured divisions to support greater accountability;
- Enhanced review processes to include evaluation of managers by employees;
- Clear boundaries on workplace behavior with a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and other actions that diminish or marginalize.
We strive to be a company that recognizes and celebrates the diverse talents and perspectives that lead to the creation of great, globally appealing entertainment.
We have provided the DFEH with clear evidence that we do not have gender pay or promotion disparities. Our senior leadership is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of women in key leadership roles across the company.
We share DFEH’s goal of a safe, inclusive workplace that rewards employees equitably and are committed to setting an example that others can follow.”
As more information arises on the lawsuit situation, we’ll keep everyone updated.
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