Activision Blizzard employees sign letter declaring leadership’s response to lawsuit ‘abhorrent and insulting’

Activision Blizzard

Nearly 1,000 have reportedly signed

Activision Blizzard employees have circulated and signed a letter to leaders at the company, calling the response to the recent discrimination lawsuit filed against the company “abhorrent and insulting.”

According to Bloomberg, which reviewed a company of the letter (as did Kotaku and Polygon), the letter has nearly 1,000 signatures and was circulated Monday. Last week, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a suit against Activision Blizzard alleging sexual discrimination and harassment at the company.

A subsequent response from an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the DFEH’s lawsuit contains “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.”

Blizzard president J Allen Brack released a public statement saying that while he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, he could say that “the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.” In an email to staff obtained last week by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Activision Blizzard executive vice president Frances Townsend said the lawsuit presented a “distorted and untrue” portrayal of the company, with “factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories” in it.

Some Activision Blizzard employees have been denouncing the statements on social media (via PC Gamer), and in this new letter, the signing employees call for leadership to recognize the “seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault.”

“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,” the letter reads. “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 have reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment.

A full transcript of the letter, via Bloomberg, follows 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.

Eric Van Allen