In the past week, news of a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard accusing the company of a “frat boy” culture allowing harassment, inequality, and other forms of abuse in the workplace has rocked the games industry. Former and current employees of the conglomerate openly criticized the management response to the lawsuit, which came from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and are now planning a walkout and strike outside Blizzard’s campus on Wednesday.
Yesterday, media outlets received a letter signed by a reported 1,000+ former and current employees, describing the defensive official response to what Activision called a “truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit” as “abhorrent and insulting.” “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,” read the end of the letter.
The Wednesday walkout will occur from 10 AM PT to 2 PM PT at the Blizzard campus main gate, with a virtual walkout occurring from 9 AM PT to 6 PM PT. A list of demands includes:
- “An end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts”
- “The adoption of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies designed to improve representation among employees at all levels […] in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups”
- “Publication of data on relative compensation”
- “Empower a company-wide Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion task force to hire a third party to audit ABK’s reporting structure, HR department, and executive staff”
The organizers also listed a number of organizations to media outlets for supporters to donate to, including Black Girls Code, Futures without Violence, Girls Who Code, RAINN, Women In Animation, and Women in Games International.
Meanwhile, Destiny developer Bungie, who formerly worked with Activision Blizzard on the series, promised a “zero-tolerance” policy on harassment. The developers of Hearthstone, a Blizzard mainstay, eschewed any live stream or fanfare of their newest content drop, with lead designer Dean Ayala saying that “having any celebration is a hard sell right now.”