Employees are organizing a walkout in the newest episode of the story developing around Activision Blizzard over the last week, demanding a more proactive reaction from management, who first disputed the claims.
This walkout is in reaction to a lawsuit filed by the state of California against Activision Blizzard for sexual harassment and wage discrepancy against its female employees, as well as the company’s higher-ups’ contentious comments.
Activision Blizzard has been silent on the claims since issuing a press release shortly after the case was filed, denying that the allegations in the complaint were in any way representative of the firm.
Following a two-year investigation into very troubling behavior within Activision Blizzard, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed the complaint in question. The lawsuit claimed that the company fostered a “frat boy” culture in which female employees were sexually harassed on a regular basis, denied promotions and equal pay to their male counterparts, forced to pick up the slack for male coworkers who would drink and play video games on the clock, and further marginalized and disparaged based on their gender.
The official reaction from Activision Blizzard flatly disputed the claims, calling them “distorted” or “false,” a view mirrored in internal business emails by J. Allen Brack, the current president of Blizzard, and Fran Townsend, executive vice president for corporate affairs. Activision Blizzard workers, on the other hand, are unsatisfied with the answers.
An open letter supporting the case was signed by over a thousand Activision Blizzard employees. Employees at Activision Blizzard, according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, will strike outside the company’s Irvine headquarters tomorrow, July 28, to demand, among other things, a third-party audit of the company’s leadership, the removal of mandatory arbitration clauses, the publication of salary and promotion rates for employees, and facilitating more diversity through improved hiring, promoting, and rehiring.
BREAKING: Activision Blizzard employees will strike tomorrow outside Blizzard's campus to protest the company's responses to the discrimination lawsuit and to demand more equitable treatment for staff https://t.co/T1d39qpsmq
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 27, 2021
This isn’t the first time Blizzard employees have banded together against the company’s management; earlier, they protested a purported wage disparity. While there are no public talks of Activision Blizzard employees unionizing at this time, according to the strike’s organizers, some observers are beginning to anticipate that such a move may happen depending on Activision Blizzard’s response.
Regardless, the voices of Activision Blizzard employees who are speaking out in support of the case are fast drowning out those of management who continue to deny the claims. If recent demonstrations inside World of Warcraft are any indicator, the bulk of the gaming community is already on the employees’ side, and it is apparent that these employees are committed to having their voices heard by the corporation that employs them.