Activision Blizzard employees withdrew after allegations of rampant sex discrimination

Employees in Gaming giant Activision Blizzard went on strike today, ending a week of escalating tensions surrounding how executives deal with allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment in the company with 10,000 employees.

On Wednesday morning, outside Activision Blizzard’s office in Irvine, California, employees held signs that read “Believe in Women”, “Committed to Equality”, “Weaken the Privileges of Men” and “Fight against the bad guys in the game. The bad guys IRL fight”. The car honked its horn.On the Internet, the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout is very popular because I like games like this World of Warcraft and Overwatch Expressed overwhelming support, including a pledge to unite and boycott the game that day.

According to photos posted on the Internet, more than 200 people participated in the strike. An unknown number of other employees participated in the shutdown remotely.

“We love our work, but our work does not love us,” an Activision employee told wired Before the strike. “That hurts. So we are working hard to change this situation.”

Today’s strike is partly due to Activision Blizzard’s leadership Explosive litigation Submitted by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing last week. The lawsuit alleges rampant inequality in the workplace, from unequal pay for similar jobs to a leadership culture that allows sexual harassment and even retaliates against women who come forward.

In response, Activision Blizzard issued a statement saying that the company values ​​diversity, but also criticized DFEH’s two-year investigation as “irresponsible behavior by irresponsible state bureaucrats, which are driving out many of the best companies in the state.” California.” Activision Blizzard’s Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend, George W. Bush’s former security consultant, also made the same voice. In a letter she sent to employees last week, Obtained by AxiosShe described the lawsuit as “truly worthless and irresponsible” and the allegations in it were “actually incorrect” or “stale.” She also stated that she is “proud” of being a member of a company that “takes a tough attitude towards inappropriate or hostile work environments”. J. Allen Brack, the president of the company named in the lawsuit, called the allegations “extremely disturbing” in another internal email obtained. go through Bloomberg.

Photography: Alex Welsh
Photography: Alex Welsh

Employees—especially those who have had personal experience of sexual harassment and discrimination in the company—are annoyed to hear responses that they feel cold or even cold. On Monday, Activision Blizzard employees condemned the leadership’s statement in an open letter, calling it “abominable and insulting to everything we think the company should represent.” The letter pointed out that employees have lost the belief that “leaders will put employee safety above their own interests” and asked Townsend to resign as executive sponsor of ABK Women’s Network. By Tuesday night, the letter had been signed by more than 3,200 current and former employees.

“This lawsuit has exposed the feeling of isolation from individuals. These people feel that they are lonely for a long time, otherwise there may be retaliation,” said Activision employees and representatives of the strike movement, who were worried about being affected. Would like to be named. “I think this is for the silent.” In order to support these people, Blizzard, Activision, and King employees-all under the umbrella of Activision Blizzard-began to organize.

“This movement is company-wide, and it is a joint effort of hundreds of people,” Blizzard employees and representatives of the strike movement told wiredThe employee added that there is currently no discussion about joining a union. Organizers announced a strike on Tuesday. They also issued a statement of intent to act, as well as a number of requirements, including: sharing employee compensation data to ensure salary fairness; better promoting diverse recruitment policies; and introducing a third-party, employee-selected working group to review manpower Resources and executive staff.

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