Update: Jeff Leach has issued a statement about his controversial comments he made earlier this year.
In a statement sent to GamesRadar+ by lawyers acting on behalf of Mr. Leach, he said that he had “reacted passionately” and his comments were “not only wrong but also the antithesis of my relationship with my fan base and the inclusive message I try to promote – and for this, I am deeply sorry but also ashamed."
Mr. Leach’s full statement reads: “Several members of the media have had questions about comments I have made, and I truly believe you deserve honest answers and an explanation.
“As you know, passion can be a double-edged sword. First and foremost, I am deeply passionate about creating great work, sharing that work with my audience and using it to lift, entertain, educate and connect more closely to my community. This extends to my acting work, live streams and the online contact I choose to have within the gaming community. That will never change.
“However, on the other end of the passion spectrum, I have also reacted passionately in situations where I felt attacked, targeted or harassed and I have very occasionally lost control – and that’s what happened to me with a couple of individuals in the gaming community. My rancor towards them was not only wrong but also the antithesis of my relationship with my fan base and the inclusive message I try to promote – and for this, I am deeply sorry but also ashamed.
“Transparency is a huge proponent of my online content. Anyone who has cared to watch a chunk of the 40+ hrs. of live content I produce each week will be aware of this. However, the use of vitriolic language online always holds the power to cause harm. As stupid as I have acted, I am not an uneducated man and I am not naive to this fact. It's one of the reasons I have been so vocal on my platforms about ending the toxicity and hate speech that exists in various facets of this industry.
I’m remorseful for misrepresenting my true intentions and apologize to the individuals and the business partners that I may have negatively impacted by these outbursts. This includes my incredible supporters, moderators who have worked so tirelessly to protect our little online community and the companies who extended opportunity and trust to me and whom I have let down.
I'm grateful for the words of support and understanding that I have received and I want you all to know that lessons have been learned, my emotions are being worked on and I will continue to be transparent and accountable to those who are generous enough to give me their time and interest.”
Mr. Leach's lawyers have also claimed that Activision did not cut ties with the actor because of these comments, but that he and the Call of Duty developer mutually agreed to part ways on March 15, 2021.
The text below and headline has been edited to reflect Leach's claims.
Original: Activision has responded after a tweet about Call of Duty voice actor Jeff Leach highlighted him making sexist and misogynistic remarks during several live streams.
This came from NitroLukeDX (opens in new tab), who posted clips showing Leach making several misogynistic comments in streams dating back to 2017. The first clip shows Leach insulting a female Twitch streamer called TheZombiUnicorn (opens in new tab) after she failed to appear on the stream. Leach made an offensive comment about the streamer's appearance, which can be heard in the clip below.
[1/3] Jeff Leach Misogynist?! @FacebookGaming Partner, Voice of @CallofDuty "Ghost" @ActivisionSerious personalised intrusive sexism. Influence. Contempt. Violence! Serial offender! @TheZombiUnicorn Watch the clip RT! Respect Women! #GameOver4Sexism pic.twitter.com/jtNj3xy5sNMay 7, 2021
Another clip in the video was taken much more recently from a live stream in December 2020 in which Leach made further sexist remarks. TheZombiUnicorn posted a video response (opens in new tab) to the montage video asking why Activision and Facebook still have partnerships with Leach, and Activision has since responded.
CharlieIntel (opens in new tab), the website which first broke the story, has since received a comment from Activision which confirms that it is no longer working with the voice actor. In the statement, Activision says that “Sexism has no place in our industry, our games, or in society. Activision is no longer working with Jeff Leach. We strongly condemn these remarks. We are committed to delivering a fun and safe experience for all players.”
Jeff Leach voiced Ghost in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and reprised the role in Call of Duty Warzone. We don’t know if Activision is planning to make any changes to the character, or if it had plans for Ghost to show up again in future Call of Duty titles.
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