Activision Blizzard executive Frances Townsend, who prior to her time at the video game holding company infamously defended the US government’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ against enemy combatants in the War on Terror as a member of President George W. Bush’s administration, has deleted her Twitter account amidst the ongoing backlash facing the company for their alleged fostering of a ‘frat boy’ workplace culture rife with sexual harassment.
When attempting to access Townsend’s Twitter, users are greeted with a message that reads “This account doesn’t exist.”
Shortly before her deletion on August 4th, Townsend had been on the receiving end of her own respective wave of backlash for downplaying the sexual harassment lawsuit in an internal email, dismissing it as presenting “a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories.”
Townsend even shared a recent article from The Atlantic discussing, in her words, “the problem with whistleblowing” just days after the lawsuit was made public.
The executive had also been blocking any user who criticized her, many of whom were current or former Activision Blizzard employees, such as World of Warcraft: Shadowlands Music Producer Charlotte Pyle.
Pyle claims she was was blocked after criticizing Townsend and her sharing of the anti-whistleblower article. She wrote about Townsend, “she is either ridiculously incompetent or perhaps this is an intimidation tactic.”
Former Overwatch and World of Warcraft: Legion software engineer Cher Scarlett, who incurred the wrath of Townsend’s block button after similarly declaring that the executive’s promotion of The Atlantic’s piece was decidedly “not it”:
Blizzard test analyst Jessica Gonzalez was also blocked after she questioned, “WTF do you know about accountability, Fran?”
Townsend, who was hired as Activision Blizzard’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Corporate Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer in March of this year, is perhaps best known for her previous role as the Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush, during which time she infamously and regularly defended the administration’s use of ‘advanced interrogation techniques.’
“The United States does not torture,” claimed Townsend, in one such instance, to reporters in 2007. “Do we have a program? Yes we do. People who participate in that program are carefully trained with more than 250 hours of training. The average age of an interrogator is 43. They’re not just interrogators who are part of the team, they’re also subject matter experts and individuals who are there to monitor the health and psychological wellbeing of the detainee himself.”
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