Activision Blizzard is one of the most popular well-known for being the company that created World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and the Call of Duty franchise, but unfortunately, it’s a company becoming well-known for another, far more worse reason.
This Wednesday, many employees from Activision Blizzard will walk out of their jobs in protest of an “abhorrent and insulting” response to a recent lawsuit towards the company, which exposed some pretty serious alleviations of sexism and harassment.
The claim, that was made on July 22 by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), went on to describe that the company seemed to be based on a culture that allowed for gender-based discrimination against female employees, as well as “constant sexual harassment”. After a two-year investigation in Activision Blizzard, it became alleged that women were being held back from well-deserved promotions for a variety of different reasons, which included the possibility of said female employees taking maternity leave and missing work. Female employees were also subject to “derogatory comments about rape”, as well as other inappropriate comments and demeaning behaviors.
Unfortunately, after taking a look at the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard responded that the lawsuit “included distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past”. They made no effort to take the claim seriously, and only chose to accuse their female employees of fabricating the whole thing, which, indirectly, proved the point of the claim.
Since that moment, more than 2,600 employees of Activision Blizzard, both current and former, have since signed an open letter in support of the lawsuit. In the lawsuit, the employees stated that they don’t trust leadership to “hold abusers accountable for their actions”, and the responses that the company chose to make “damaged our ongoing quest for inequality, inside and outside of the industry.”.
However, employees have decided that a simple letter wouldn’t be able to change the head honcho’s minds so easily, which is why today, on Wednesday, July 28th, employees will walk of the building and not do any work as a sign of solidarity for the workers who were affected by the “frat-house” culture of Activision Blizzard.
Employees will meet at the main gate of the Blizzard campus in Irving, California. Online workers for the company will use the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout to be able to participate in the protest virtually. The workers are also asking supporters who want to contribute to the cause to, instead of giving money to Activision Blizzard, to instead donate to other charities, such as Black Girls Code, Futures Without Violence, Girls Who Code, RAINN, Women In Animation, and Women In Games International.
Video games and things of that nature have always been a male-dominated field, but recent decades have shown that females were proficient, and even excelled, at technology and design. For the future of girls in technology and video game-based careers, this is a big step backwards. Luckily, there are well-minded individuals who are trying to mend the wrong-doings of companies who care more about profit than they do their valuable employees.