Early in 2019, Activision Blizzard reportedly laid off more than 800 employees, 8% of its workforce. CEO Bobby Kotick described the layoffs as part of a consolidation and restructuring effort due to missed expectations in 2019 and lowered expectations in 2019. Kotick made the announcement shortly after confirming that Activision Blizzard had "achieved record results in 2018" amounting to $7.5 Billion in sales and $1.8 Billion profit. The layoffs were controversial, to say the least, and said controversy appears to continue even now.
One team hit particularly hard by the layoffs was Hearthstone's community management team due to the card game's waning popularity and foundering esports scene. At the time, Hearthstone players weren't happy, as they'd seen the community management team as their connection to the game's development. Cutting that team felt unnecessary given the community's ongoing passion for the game and the layoffs were seen as severe.
Blizzard now appears to agree. Watchful eyes have noticed that Blizzard recently posted a job listing for a Hearthstone Community Manager, the same position which saw multiple layoffs just a matter of months ago. Those community managers who were laid off have also noticed. Christina Mikkonen, previously a Hearthstone Global Content Manager, wrote on Twitter that Blizzard's actions are "shameful," as some community managers laid off in February are still looking for work.
Mikkonen then followed up her comments on Blizzard's new job posting by confirming that her post resulted in current Hearthstone community manager Chris Attalus blocking her account on Twitter. The animosity between former coworkers at Blizzard just being one of many negative products of the layoffs.
The situation, of course, is a volatile and complex one. Blizzard may simply be hiring for a Community Manager position that continued to exist after the layoffs but saw the employee leave in the time since, a not uncommon event given low morale at Blizzard. Of course, the alternative extreme could also be true, in that Blizzard could cynically be rehiring for the positions it laid off earlier for more experience or lesser pay. Public perception at the moment is that Activision Blizzard doesn't necessarily deserve the benefit of the doubt, given that the layoffs occurred on the back of record profits and massive pay for the company's CEO and CFO.
Whether or not there was a better way for Blizzard to go about pursuing a new community manager for the Hearthstone team isn't a question with an easy answer. Nevertheless, a job listing for a position which saw several layoffs just months ago being viewed negatively is understandable given the current state of the industry.