The situation at Activision Blizzard has reached a fever pitch.
In the wake of the state of California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, there have been many responses from the company itself and from former and current employees. From Blizzard President J. Allen Brack himself and former executives such as Mike Morhaime and Chris Metzen, everyone is giving their two cents on the situation on Twitter and elsewhere.
However, the rank and file at Activision Blizzard do not think that the response from the company is adequate enough. Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend had called the accusations “factually incorrect” despite the accusations stretching back for years (Townsend only joined the company in March 2021). The response from Brack himself was also considered inadequate. According to Bloomberg technology writer Jason Schreier, who has been meticulously documenting the events, there will be an employee walkout tomorrow, July 28, 2021.
The situation has escalated to the point where it affected the very productions of the games themselves.
Work has been completely stopped on World of Warcraft according to senior system designer Jeff Hamilton. Players have been staging in-game protests (pictured below) against the company. Over 1,000 employees have signed an open letter protesting the response to the harassment lawsuit. Players have decided to cancel their World of Warcraft subscriptions and have declared that they will never buy another Activision Blizzard product or service, or at least boycott them until the situation improves at the company.
The employees have demanded the following:
- 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.”
While these issues have been present at other gaming companies, Activision Blizzard is under the microscope because of their claims of inclusion and diversity, as shown in a plaque outside their very own headquarters.
We will keep you posted on the latest situation and provide updates where necessary.