There have been all manner of reactions to the recent lawsuit filed by the state of California against Activision Blizzard for the alleged discrimination and harassment of women.

The general public is shocked and horrified by the details of the filing, but Activision Blizzard executives are holding the line, blasting the investigators for a “distorted” and “rushed” lawsuit, and extolling the inclusionary policies they say they’ve adopted at the company. This, in turn, is infuriating many past and present employees there, who are speaking out publicly and privately about both the allegations and the corporate response.

But there’s also a different category of response, the corporate bosses that are no longer with Blizzard, but are former icons of the company, and in charge when much of this was going on. They are not with the company now, so able to speak more freely, and as such, they are actively issuing apologies.

Two of the most high profile instances of this are from Chris Metzen, intimately involved in creating Blizzard’s iconic Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo franchises, and Mike Morhaime, the co-founder and former president of Blizzard who left in 2018. Metzen and Morhaime both have their own studios now, Warchief and Dreamhaven respectively.

Both issued apologies on Twitter this week which struck similar tones. Here’s Metzen:

“We failed, and I’m sorry. To all of you at Blizzard – those of you I know and those of you whom I’ve never met – I offer you my very deepest apologies for the part I played in a culture that fostered harassment, inequality and indifference.”

And Morhaime:

“I realize that these are just words, but I wanted to acknowledge the women who had awful experiences. I hear you, I believe you, and I am so sorry to have let you down. I want to hear your stories, if you are willing to share them. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to help drive positive change and to combat misogyny, discrimination, and harassment wherever I can.”

Reaction to these apologies have been…mixed. While many, including former or current Blizzard employees, appreciate the sentiment which goes well beyond what current Activision Blizzard leadership is saying, there’s an ongoing question of how much each man knew about the culture at the company, and what they ignored or were genuinely unaware of at the time. It’s not clear what role each might have to play in California’s lawsuit, as it stands to reason they could be called to appear to talk about their time there, as the scope of the investigation certainly covers their tenures.

The difference between Morhaime and Metzen’s tone compared to current president J. Allen Brack and CCO Fran Townsend is because current leadership there essentially will not apologize for what happened, given that it would effectively be an admission of guilt. See what Townsend said earlier this week:

“When I joined the Executive Leadership Team, I was certain that I was joining a company where I would be valued, treated with respect and provided opportunities equal to those afforded to the men in the company…I am proud to be part of a company that takes a hard-line approach to inappropriate or hostile work environments and sexual harassment issues.”

That response has been torn to shreds by pretty much everyone, current employees included, but it seems to be the line Activision Blizzard will take for the lawsuit itself.

This is going to be a long saga, and we’ll likely continue to hear from those within the company, or who used to work there. More to come.

Follow me on TwitterYouTubeFacebook and Instagram.

Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.

Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.