Activision Blizzard Employees Are Staging a Walk Off
Following’s last week’s explosive allegations against Activision Blizzard, over 2000 employees have signed a letter regarding the situation and response to the lawsuit “abhorrent and insulting.” The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Activision Blizzard after a two-year investigation into the situation.
Per Bloomberg, a signed letter was sent to the leadership from the employees and it painted a clear message with nearly 2000 signatures on it. The last employee count for Activision Blizzard was around 10,000 and with the total crossing over 2000, we’re looking at roughly 20% of the workforce at the company ready to step to the leaders.
The full letter sent to management is below:
To the Leaders of Activision Blizzard,
We, the undersigned, agree that the statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, are abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for. To put it clearly and unequivocally, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.
We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry. Categorizing the claims that have been made as “distorted, and in many cases false” creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims. It also casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future. These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first. Immediate corrections are needed from the highest level of our organization. Our company executives have claimed that actions will be taken to protect us, but in the face of legal action—and the troubling official responses that followed—we no longer trust that our leaders will place employee safety above their own interests. To claim this is a “truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,” while seeing so many current and former employees speak out about their own experiences regarding harassment and abuse, is simply unacceptable.
We call for official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault. We call on Frances Townsend to stand by her word to step down as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network as a result of the damaging nature of her statement. We call on the executive leadership team to work with us on new and meaningful efforts that ensure employees—as well as our community—have a safe place to speak out and come forward.
We stand with all our friends, teammates, and colleagues, as well as the members of our dedicated community, who have experienced mistreatment or harassment of any kind. We will not be silenced, we will not stand aside, and we will not give up until the company we love is a workplace we can all feel proud to be a part of again. We will be the change.
Each response from the company has been met with criticism as Blizzard President J Allen Brack, sending out a memo saying he couldn’t comment on the situation but “the behaviour detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.” Brack was caught on camera belittling women who asked the developers on World of Warcraft about the women in their games.
However, the one that riled up employees was from Activision Blizzard’s Chief Compliance Office Frances Townsend, who also serves as the Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network. Her response included the buzz words “factually incorrect, old, and out of context,” which sent the wrong message and igniting much of the workforce to come out against these issues the company faces.
To combat the horrible responses from the executives in charge, Activision Blizzard employees are holding a formal walkout Wednesday, July 28, telling the senior leaders that the walkout is to “improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of colour and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.”
Many employees have arbitrary clauses in their contracts and are unable to sue Activision Blizzard if a situation like this arises. Employees want this clause removed from their contracts as well as in future employee contracts.
Also, the employees are demanding to see the data related to compensation, promotions, revised hiring policies, and pay rate transparency. Employees ask that a third-party company investigate the reporting policy, HR and senior leadership. We’ve seen this sort o situation before with Riot Games, a studio that faced a similar situation in 2019.
To support the Activision Blizzard employees, they are asking the gaming community to show support on social media by using the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag. If the community wants to do more about the situation, please consider donating to the following charities per the employee’s request.