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Former Blizzard Co-Lead Jen Oneal Says Activision Blizzard Rejected Multiple Requests for Equal Pay

Image courtesy of Activision Blizzard

In the wake of recent allegations that CEO Bobby Kotick was aware "for years" of abuse at Activision Blizzard, a report detailed by IGN has revealed that former Blizzard co-lead Jen Oneal was denied equal pay to match that of her male counterpart, Mike Ybarra.

Oneal stepped down from her co-lead position at Activision Blizzard just three months into the role. It has since been revealed that part of Oneal's reason for leaving the company was due to issues surrounding pay parity. The claims have been further detailed by The Wall Street Journal (paywall), who reported that they had seen emails in which Oneal “professed a lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to turn the culture around.” The emails also revealed how Oneal had been sexually harassed at the company earlier in her career. "I have been tokenized, marginalized, and discriminated against," written in the WSJ.

Ybarra had apparently told Blizzard employees that both he and Oneal had asked for equal pay together, though Oneal stated that she was only offered an equal contract after resigning from the role.

IGN reports that they had seen screenshots of a Slack conversation involving Blizzard employees, Ybarra, and Oneal. They quote Ybarra as saying, "Jen and I were both on existing contracts. I ran [Battle.net & Online Products] and she ran [Vicarious Visions] so our pay was different. The first time both Jen and I were offered a new contract, it was the same across both of us for the new co-leader of Blizzard roles, so our compensation was going to be the same."

Oneal reportedly responded to the message by clarifying that she had not received an equal offer until after her resignation. IGN quotes her reply as, “When Mike and I were placed in the same co-lead role, we went into the role with our previous compensation, which was not equivalent. It remained that way for some time well after we made multiple rejected requests to change it to parity.”

"While the company informed me before I tendered my resignation that they were working on a new proposal, we were made equivalent offers only after I tendered that resignation.”

Information continues to come to light surrounding the harassment and discrimination culture at Activision Blizzard. Recently, employees staged a walk-out demanding that CEO Bobby Kotick resigns from his role due to his compliance with the company's toxic culture. The Board, however, has stood by Kotick.