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Three Major Blizzard Employees Reportedly Terminated

Overwatch cowboy Jesse McCree got his name from one of the employees that left Blizzard this week.
Overwatch cowboy Jesse McCree got his name from one of the employees that left Blizzard this week. / Photo courtesy of Blizzard

Blizzard reportedly let three major developers go Wednesday, Kotaku reports. The departures, confirmed by an Activision Blizzard spokesperson, included Diablo 4 game director Luis Barriga, lead designer Jesse McCree, and World of Warcraft designer Jonathan LeCraft.

"We have a deep, talented roster of developers already in place and new leaders have been assigned where appropriate," the Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Kotaku. "We are confident in our ability to continue progress, deliver amazing experiences to our players, and move forward to ensure a safe, productive work environment for all."

Activision Blizzard did not provide a reason for the departures, but they come amid the fallout from a California lawsuit by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing that accuses the company of fostering a work environment replete with sexual harassment and discrimination.

McCree, the namesake for Overwatch's cowboy character, was one of several current and former Blizzard developers implicated in a report about the so-called "Cosby Suite," a suite at BlizzCon 2013 reported to have been a hotbed of harassment and a symbol of the larger cultural problem. Jonathan LeCraft appeared alongside McCree in a photo of the Cosby Suite.

The Cosby Suite belonged to former World of Warcraft developer Alex Afrasiabi, one of the few employees named in the DFEH lawsuit. Afrasiabi is accused of sexually harassing and groping female coworkers. Blizzard has removed references to him from World of Warcraft, but Blizzard has yet to announce similar plans for references to McCree in Overwatch.

Luis Barriga has been with Blizzard since 2006, and has served as one of the faces of Diablo 4 while working as game director.