Chacko Sonny, executive producer on Overwatch, has announced that he is leaving Blizzard Entertainment in the latest of a series of high-profile departures at the company.
Sonny’s departure follows ongoing reports of sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard, after multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company. Sonny leaves Blizzard just months after the departure of Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan, who left the company back in May this year after 19 years at the company.
Sonny’s last day at Blizzard will be this Friday, with an Activision Blizzard spokesperson confirming his departure to Bloomberg.
In an email sent to staff, Sonny didn’t reveal the reasons for his departure, but noted that working at Blizzard has been an absolute privilege and one of the best experiences of my career.” His email did also not make mention of the ongoing turmoil at the company. In a separate email, new Blizzard co-leaders Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra called Sonny a “thoughtful leader” and that they were grateful for his service.
In an official statement sent to Polygon, the company confirmed Sonny’s departure, saying that he was “leaving Blizzard to take some time off after 5 years of service.”
Bloomberg reports that, according to anonymous sources at the company, Sonny was well-respected and staff were not aware of any allegations against him.
Prior to his departure Sonny was head of the Overwatch franchise and the development of the upcoming Overwatch 2. Despite the high profile departures of both Sonny and Kaplan, Activision Blizzard insists that Overwatch 2 is making excellent progress” and “is in the final stages of production.”
Blizzard has said that it doesn’t yet know who will helm the Overwatch franchise.
Activision Blizzard is accused of, among other things, having a ‘frat boy culture’ that has contributed to years of sexual harassment and unequal pay for women at the company. These allegations are the centrepiece of a lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
Bloomberg reports that these allegations are the result of a two year investigation into the publisher. The lawsuit claims that women, who make up roughly 20% of the workforce at Activision Blizzard, have been subjected to discrimination in terms of unequal pay, sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation. The company is also accused of shredding documents related to the DFEH’s lawsuit.
Additionally, it was revealed on Monday that the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened its own investigation into Activision Blizzard, investigating the company’s response to the sexual harassment allegations. If that wasn’t enough, the company is also facing another investigation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, is accused of union busting by the Communications Workers of America and a class action lawsuit on behalf of its own investors.