Activision no longer working with Call of Duty voice actor accused of sexism

Ghost in Warzone.
(Image credit: Activision)

Update: Following publication of this story, Jeff Leach issued the following public statement. The statement follows, in full: 

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 legal team also claim that Call of Duty's developer didn't cut ties with the actor because of the offensive comments he made, but that he and Activision agreed to part ways mutually in March of 2021.  

Original story follows:

Earlier this month streamer NitroLukeDX posted a series of clips to Twitter in which Jeff Leach, the voice actor who plays the operator codenamed Ghost in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone, uses gendered insults. The clips showed Leach insulting streamer ZombiUnicorn in 2017, saying they relied on their "horrendous cleavage", for which he was banned from Twitch at the time, as well as more recent comments Leach directed at a different player while streaming Warzone on FacebookGaming: "Suck my fat, girthy c***, you stupid c***." 

ZombiUnicorn responded in a video calling for FacebookGaming and Activision to take responsibility for partnering with Leach, saying, "It's not acceptable. These people like Jeff Leach won't change. They haven't changed, and they won't. There are people who fuck up and make mistakes, who take responsibility and understand that they were wrong. They do some reflecting and therapy and they work on it and try to become better people. That's not this situation. This is an example of someone who has been documented for years doing the same exact misogynistic, horrible, malicious behaviors."

As CharlieIntel reported, Activision have now cut ties with Leach. We reached out to Activision, and received the same statement: "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."

Leach responded on Twitter, saying that the clips were taken out of context and showed "me destroying a troll in chat" and were chosen "to fit a character defaming narrative". 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.