Former World of Warcraft Designer Apologizes For Tone-Deaf 2010 BlizzCon Answer


A 2010 clip of a fan asking a panel of Activision Blizzard employees at BlizzCon for better representation of body shapes in World of Warcraft has gone viral over the past few days. Now, one of the panelists in the video has apologized for the comments, stating that the panel did not take her question seriously and that the clip itself “hasn’t aged well.”

In the clip, a woman notes the “very strong female characters” in World of Warcraft before asking when the developers plan on introducing some women that don’t look like they’ve “stepped out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog.” The woman’s comments immediately receive applause from fans in attendance, followed by an overwhelming wave of boos and jeers. The panelists then offer dismissive responses to the question.

One panelist asks, “what do you mean?” and another says, “which catalog would you like them to step out of?” Even after the woman steps away from the microphone, the panelists continue to poke fun at the question. One of the panelists is J. Allen Brack, the current president of Blizzard. Another is Alex Afrasiabi, a former creative director for World of Warcraft who has been accused of harassing female employees.

Another one of the panelists, Greg Street, recently said on Twitter that he wishes he had said “something better then,” and that it was a “shitty answer.” He claimed that it was difficult to see the woman’s face from the stage. He apologized to the player who asked the question, as well as all others who were disappointed with the answer. He also stated that he finds the video embarrassing on a personal level.

This clip circulated in part due to the high-profile lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing due to the company’s alleged “frat house culture” of serial harassment, discrimination, and sexism. More than a thousand current and former employees of the company signed an open letter condemning the company’s response to the lawsuit, stating that they will not be silenced.

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