Activision-Blizzard: Frances Townsend steps down from one studio post, Jeff Kurtenacker departs

Townsend keeps her executive role but resigns as executive sponsor of the company's women’s network

This is going great.

It’s a day that ends in “y,” which means there’s another new development in the ongoing Blizzard sexual harassment and sexual discrimination scandal. This time the story revolves around Frances Townsend, the company’s president for corporate affairs, who readers will recall sent out a spectacularly combative internal memo that drew a letter of condemnation from employees. IGN reports that Townsend is no longer the executive sponsor of the ABK Women’s Network, a group for female employees at the company.

In a statement, Townsend said she “believes in doing what’s right for the Network, and will continue to support and advance the work of the Network as best she can.” While her removal from the ABK Women’s Network is confirmed, it’s important to point out that she has not left the company and is still employed by ActiBlizz.

Townsend’s departure from the network comes after she denounced the California lawsuit, and by extension the claims of the company’s whistleblowers and victims, in a leaked internal memo that read very similarly to Blizzard’s initial response to the suit that called its claims outdated and unprovable. And last week, she provoked Twitter drama when she subtweeted an article villainizing whistleblowing that resulted in backlash from workers on the platform, which led her to block Blizzard employees and journalists and then ultimately delete her own Twitter account – of her own volition, according to Activision.

In other employee departure news, beloved MMO composer Jeff Kurtenacker, who signed on with Blizzard only last year and is well-known around here for his work on the WildStar soundtrack especially, announced on Twitter that he has left the studio – and it sounds rather abrupt. “I have stepped down from my position at Blizzard Entertainment, and while I’m not sure what’s next for me, I’m looking forward to finding new projects and creative people to work with,” he writes.

Further reading:

sources: IGN, Twitter
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