Activision Blizzard Employees Are Staging A Walkout On Wednesday
To bring more attention to what they called an "abhorrent and insulting" response to the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard employees are walking out.
Employees at Activision Blizzard have said they won't work on Wednesday out of protest for the publisher's "abhorrent and insulting" response to the ongoing lawsuit that documents claims of sexual harassment of women, pay violations, and a "frat boy" culture.
"We believe that that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership," organizers of the protest said in a statement to Polygon.
The employee group demands that executives at Activision Blizzard "improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups."
The proposed walkout comes after more than 2,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees signed an open letter to management regarding the lawsuit from the state of California. Activision is believed to employ more than 9,000 people across its offices worldwide.
The employee group staging the walkout has a list of demands, including an end to mandatory arbitration clauses; new recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies that improve representation; and a call to make compensation for employees public. The group also wants to see Activision Blizzard hire a third-party to audit the company's efforts in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force.
For Blizzard specifically, employees participating in the walkout will meet at the company's main gate in Irvine, California--they won't actually enter the campus due to COVID and security measures. Those who are working from home are going to use the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag to participate.
Activision Blizzard responded to the suit by saying the claims are "distorted, and in many cases false" descriptions of conduct that happened in the past. The company said it has taken steps and action to correct the problems.
In the wake of the lawsuit, Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime and Diablo co-creator Chris Metzen issued statements in which they owned up to playing a role in the culture that led to this.
Activision Blizzard Walkout Statement:
"Given last week’s statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, and the many stories shared by current and former employees of Activision Blizzard since, we believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.
As current Activision Blizzard employees, we are holding a walkout to call on the executive leadership team to work with us on the following demands, in order to improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.
1. An end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, current and future. Arbitration clauses protect abusers and limit the ability of victims to seek restitution.
2. The adoption of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies designed to improve representation among employees at all levels, agreed upon by employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion organization. Current practices have led to women, in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups that are vulnerable to gender discrimination not being hired fairly for new roles when compared to men.
3. Publication of data on relative compensation (including equity grants and profit sharing), promotion rates, and salary ranges for employees of all genders and ethnicities at the company. Current practices have led to aforementioned groups not being paid or promoted fairly.
4. 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. It is imperative to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment, and to propose new solutions to address these issues."
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