Activision Blizzard Employees Plan Walk Out in Wake of DFEH California Lawsuit
Activision Blizzard employees have called for a mass walkout on Wednesday to protest their lacking response to the recent sexual discrimination lawsuit, as well as demanding more equitable treatment for staffers of color and women.
California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, known as the DFEH, sued Activision Blizzard for a culture in which women faced unequal pay, sexual harassment, and rampant retaliation. Activision widely denied these claims, which has led to a boiling point among their employees, and mass statements from both current and former Blizzard employees on the situation. Many prominent names from Blizzard’s past have widely denounced current leadership and have basically stated that they themselves are partly to blame for the situation, saying that they should’ve changed the culture when they had a chance.
More than 2,000 Activision Blizzard staffers signed an open letter for the company to revise their earlier statements to the DFEH lawsuit and take the situation seriously, but given no response seems to be forthcoming, they have now organized this walkout with a list of demands.
This is the second such walkout from Blizzard in the past 12 months, the previous time being for equal pay and compensation among its staffers – which largely was ineffective according to Bloomberg.
Activision Blizzard Employees Make Demands
- That Activision ditch mandatory arbitration clauses “in all employee contracts, current and future.”
- New practices for recruiting, interviewing, hiring and promotion that facilitate better representation “agreed upon by employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion organization.”
- The publication of data on relative compensation, promotion rates and salary ranges for employees “of all genders and ethnicities at the company.”
- That a diversity task force be allowed to hire a third party to audit the company’s leadership, hierarchy and HR department. “It is imperative to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment, and to propose new solutions to address these issues.”
Players Organize Their Own Walkouts
Players of Activision Blizzard titles have widely denounced the company as well following the DFEH lawsuit, with many planning their own walkouts for tomorrow to show the makers of their favorite games they mean business. Time will tell whether or not this will ultimately result in any meaningful change from the juggernaut, but sentiment among gamers is likely to be marred by this incident for quite some time.
Meanwhile, the individual teams within Blizzard seem to be doing some organizing of their own, with the World of Warcraft Twitter account sending the following message to their fans. Most notable, they’ve promised to remove references to individuals like Alex Afrasiabi and others named in the DFEH lawsuit as chronic sexual abusers.
“The past days have been a time of reflection for the World of Warcraft team, spent in conversation and contemplation, full of sadness, pain, and anger, but also hope and resolve. As we heed the brave women who have come forward to share their experiences, we stand committed to taking the actions necessary to ensure we are providing an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment both for our team and for our players in Azeroth. Those of us in leadership understand that it is not our place to judge when we have achieved our goals, but rather for our team and our community to let us know when we still have more to do.
While we turn to our team for guidance in our internal work to protect marginalized groups and hold accountable those who threaten them, we also want to take immediate action in Azeroth to remove references that are not appropriate for our world. This work has been underway, and you will be seeing several such changes to both Shadowlands and WoW Classic in the coming days.
We know that in order to rebuild trust, we must earn it with our actions in the weeks and months to come. But we go forward knowing that we share the same vision as our community about creating a place where people of all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds can thrive and proudly call home.”