Activision Blizzard Staff Sign Letter Condemning Official Response To Lawsuit Against The Company
Nearly 1,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees signed a letter condemning the company for denying and discrediting the discrimination lawsuit against it.
Almost 1,000 current and former employees of Activision Blizzard have signed an open letter condemning the company's response to the recent discrimination lawsuit. As reported by Bloomberg, the letter was circulated today as the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher continues to deal with allegations levied against it.
The lawsuit brought forward by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing documents allegations of abuse, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women. The lawsuit claims that Activision Blizzard "fostered a sexist culture and paid women less than men despite doing substantially similar work, assigned women to lower-level jobs, and promoted them at slower rates than men, and fired or forced women to quit at higher frequencies than men." The lawsuit also claims that black women and other people of color at Activision Blizzard were particularly impacted.
According to Bloomberg, employees have been upset since the lawsuit was filed, fueled by Activision Blizzard's official statement, which called the lawsuit "distorted, and in many cases false." Many employees reportedly feel that the company is pushing back against legitimate claims about its work culture.
The letter states that Activision Blizzard's pushback against the lawsuit is "abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for." It goes on to say that Activision Blizzard cannot claim to take action to protect its employees from harassment and discrimination while refusing to do so in the face of legal action.
You can read the letter in full below:
To the Leaders of Activision Blizzard,
We, the undersigned, agree that the statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, are abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for. To put it clearly and unequivocally, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.
We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry. Categorizing the claims that have been made as “distorted, and in many cases false” creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims. It also casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future. These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first. Immediate corrections are needed from the highest level of our organization.
Our company executives have claimed that actions will be taken to protect us, but in the face of legal action -- and the troubling official responses that followed -- we no longer trust that our leaders will place employee safety above their own interests. To claim this is a “truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,” while seeing so many current and former employees speak out about their own experiences regarding harassment and abuse, is simply unacceptable.
We call for official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault. We call on Frances Townsend to stand by her word to step down as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network as a result of the damaging nature of her statement. We call on the executive leadership team to work with us on new and meaningful efforts that ensure employees -- as well as our community -- have a safe place to speak out and come forward.
We stand with all our friends, teammates, and colleagues, as well as the members of our dedicated community, who have experienced mistreatment or harassment of any kind. 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.
Former Blizzard executives Mike Morhaime and Chris Metzen both released statements about the lawsuit, expressing shame and regret about the abuse that has taken place at Activision Blizzard. Both acknowledged the victims and expressed a feeling of failure that so many women were harassed and discriminated against at the company.
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