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By the end of the month, Overwatch’s McCree will be called Cole Cassidy to divorce the character from his real life namesake who left Blizzard Entertainment following accusations of sexual and racial harassment in its offices.
Jesse McCree, who used to work for Blizzard as a lead designer, is seen in photographs of the company’s “Cosby Suite.” According to the lawsuit levelled against Blizzard by the state of California, this was a hotel room where male employees would gather during BlizzCon, drink heavily and attempt to pick up women to take with them back to the room. A large framed photograph of Bill Cosby — whose sexual assault allegations were public knowledge at the time of the creation of the “Cosby Suite” — is also posed with by a number of developers.
“An employee brought these 2013 events to our attention in June 2020,” said a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard when Kotaku asked about the “Cosby Suite” images and allegations against former World of Warcraft developer Alex Afrasiabi. “We immediately conducted our own investigation and took corrective action. At the time of the report, we had already conducted a separate investigation of Alex Afrasiabi and terminated him for his misconduct in his treatment of other employees.”
Meet Cole Cassidy.— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) October 22, 2021
Rides into Overwatch October 26. pic.twitter.com/CT6PmaNXNs
This is, of course, not the only complaint in the lawsuit that hit the headlines in summer. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing cites a toxic working culture that encouraged the harassment of women and women of colour, the latter of which were policed for their dress, holidays, and even the way they spoke.
In order to show that the company is appreciative of this opportunity to grow and learn from these reports of unfair treatment, it has enacted a number of changes in World of Warcraft like the removal of sexualised images and gendered insults. McCree’s new name is the next on its agenda and this will be put in place with an update on October 26th.
It’s also offering players the chance to change their BattleTag, something that usually costs $10. "As we introduce a new name, you might have the desire to do the same,” explained the company. “Starting 22 October, 2021 and continuing through 5 November, 2021, all players will be offered a free BattleTag name change. This applies to anyone who does not currently have a free name change available. Existing name changes will not stack for future use."
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