Fran Townsend, Bush administration alumni and Activision Blizzard's current chief compliance officer, has been one of the many executives at the heart of the ongoing discrimination allegations. While not named in the initial lawsuit, Townsend was thrust into the spotlight when an internal email leaked, revealing that she called the allegations "distorted and untrue".
Now, Townsend has come under fire once again. Yesterday, the Activision Blizzard exec shared an article with the caption, "the problem with whistleblowing", which many interpreted to be a remark on the investigation within her company. Adding to the controversy, many who are critical of the tweet appear to be getting blocked by Townsend - including her own employees.
This comes from Jason Schreier, who was the first to report on the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. Commenting on the response to Townsend's tweet. Schreier claims that, "multiple Activision Blizzard employees say Townsend has blocked them on Twitter for responding." He goes on to elaborate: "an [executive-level manager] blocking her own employees is one I haven't seen before."
This follows Townsend's response to the investigation into sexism and abuse in Activision Blizzard, which many saw as dismissive. In the email sent to employees, she said: "We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees. We aspire in our company to do great things: in our games, in our impact on society, and in our work environment."
Townsend has been a controversial figure within the company since she started in January of this year. Having previously worked as Homeland Security advisor for former President George Bush, she has defended the administration's use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques" (such as waterboarding, widely classed as torture) on prisoners. In 2009, she spoke out against the Obama administration declassifying documents on the use of waterboarding, saying that those carrying it out should not be subjected to "public humiliation" or even a congressional hearing.
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