A California Department of Fair Employment and Housing suit was filed earlier last week, against Activision Blizzard, alleging rampant sexism and discrimination at work against the company’s female employees at work. Following this suit, Activision Blizzard joins the rank of several other gaming giants such as Ubisoft (2020) and Riot Games (2018) that came under fire for similar grounds. The company’s upper management responded to these allegations by strongly refuting the claims made in the allegations. Things finally came to a head when employees decided to stage a walk out to protest the company’s lack of empathy.
The game industry has always been notorious for its male dominant culture that is reticent and occasionally outright hostile to their female employees. The suit was filed after a thorough two-year long investigation by the DFEH into the Activision Blizzard. The gaming giant has been known for publishing titles such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty among other such highly popular titles.
The twenty-eight page long report raises shocking allegations against the company and its double standards against the female employees from “progressing or even staying within the organization”. Several shocking revelations were made against the company which ranged from borderline to outright offensive. The report highlighted the company’s lack of action against such misdemeanor against their female employees. It report points out that out of the 10,000 employees that are currently employed by Activision Blizzard only 24% are female. It also points that the top management is almost “entirely male and white”.
Following the lack of empathy in the initial response from company CEO, the employees who have undergone such sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace expressed their disappointment against the employers. “We love our jobs but they don’t love us back”, claimed one employee. The gaming community came out in support of the employees and a walkout was staged outside Activision Blizzard’s California office. While several participated in the walkout, several others who were working remotely had a work stoppage, in support of the protesters. In an open letter which has since garnered more than 3,000 signatures, the employees stated that they have lost faith that their employers will put “employee safety over their personal interests”.
WATCH A BREAKDOWN OF THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE
EMPLOYEE WALKOUT AT ACTIVISON BLIIZARD HERE:
Following the backlash and the outrage over the initial response, company CEO, Bobby Kotick, issued an apology, to all its employees. He claimed that the initial response was tone-deaf. In his letter, he assured employees by saying that Activision Blizzard has hired the law firm WilmerHale to carry out an investigation and evaluation of the company’s policy. We can only hope that the company takes proactive measures to curb such workplace discrimination and make it a safer and more inclusive workplace for all its employees. It is high time the gaming industry start acknowledging and uplifting its women, creating opportunities for them to excel.
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