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Blizzard Reaffirms ‘Inclusive, Respectful’ Workplace in Wake of Employee Accusations

Former Blizzard employee Julian Murillo-Cuellar posted an explanation for his departure from the company in a TwitLonger post on Tuesday. In the post, Murillo-Cuellar details bullying and discrimination he says he experienced during his time with the company, his reporting of the issues, and subsequent perceived retaliation in the form of negative performance reviews which all culminated in serious health issues, including suicidal thoughts, before tendering his resignation with the company in February of 2018.

Blizzard Entertainment responded to Variety‘s request for comment with the following statement:

“While the company does not comment on individual personnel issues, we can share that having an inclusive and respectful work environment is extremely important to us. We have a policy against harassment and discrimination and take reports of inappropriate behavior very seriously. There are a number of methods for employees to come forward should they experience or observe any inappropriate behavior. All claims of alleged harassment and discrimination which are brought to our attention are investigated, and we take action where appropriate. We strive to create an inclusive and respectful work environment that reflects Blizzard’s core values in everything we do.  

“Employee and workplace health is also very important, and we offer different programs and opportunities that support employees, including health and wellness programs and counseling, both in the office (often provided for free) as well as through external professional providers.”

Murillo-Cuellar was a part of the Blizzard Esports Team “supporting Hearthstone and the Hearthstone Championship Tour,” according to his post, when he suffered racial discrimination and bullying from another employee, from April to December of 2016. Murillo-Cuellar claimed that despite multiple attempts to resolve the issue with the company through supervisors and HR, the matter went largely unresolved and he even felt retaliated against in treatment by the company, in the form of negative performance reviews for being “difficult to work with” and “not a team player” despite making it known the issues he was facing at Blizzard and not receiving a negative review prior to this, according to his post.

“In the five years at Blizzard I was always a highly reviewed employee and this time I was not,”  Murillo-Cuellar wrote. He also explained that he was left out of the loop on crucial matters and left out of praise given during a meeting. Murillo-Cuellar detailed the long hours he put into the company before explaining the bullying and subsequent reactions from the company throughout the post.

Murillo-Cuellar writes that a female employee “would joke about my sexism, or natural inclination to be sexist, due to my heritage . . . The assumption then became that I was just like everyone else, and that my attitudes, beliefs were that of a Mexican machista (male chauvinist).”

Attempts to reach the accused employee have not received a response as of publication time.

Murillo-Cuellar began experiencing increasing health issues, including major depression, anxiety attacks, and suicidal thoughts. He was sent home on a leave of absence in November 2017 after a nervous breakdown at work, he wrote.

He stated that he reached out to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in December of 2017.

“… I reached out to the EEOC, hoping to get a resolution should Blizzard fail, and that’s when I realized of [sic] the statute of limitations regarding my racial discrimination and abuse,” he wrote. “I didn’t have much to go by and my case would be dismissed.”

In February 2018, Murillo-Cuellar handed in his resignation after “being placed on a new unpaid leave of absence while they ‘found me a home’.” “Nothing was done during my initial leave,” he wrote, referring to a medical leave of absence taken from February to May 2017, “I was left to the wind.”

Murillo-Cuellar stated that the impetus for him to make this public post was the reveal of “Overwatch’s” Soldier 76 as an LGBTQ+ character.

“I write this today because the Soldier 76 announcement and subsequent tweets I did triggered me,” Murillo-Cuellar wrote. “The reason why it triggered me wasn’t the message, but who it was coming from: Blizzard Entertainment. The idea of inclusion, of representation, and ‘every voice matters’ and ‘think globally’ never meant that for me and other people of color I have spoken to. Because up until recently—in the last 2 years—has the community had some representation and initiatives. But are we really represented?”

Murillo-Cuellar wrote that his wife and other “current and former alumni” have had similar treatment at the company.

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