Group fighting for better parity among genders
A party of current and former Activision Blizzard employees have formed a new committee in order to combat sexism, inequality, and gender bias within the studio’s walls. The anti-discrimination committee currently consists of 12 members, and has drafted a list of demands for the attention of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, diversity officer Kristen Hines, and chief human resources officer Julie Hodges.
As reported by The Washington Post, the four-page document demands include private lactation support, 12 weeks of paid parental leave, and the implementation of independent investigations for employee complaints and incidents. The latter of these is likely a response to Activision’s recent decision to create its own “Workplace Responsibility Committee,” an in-house investigative body that includes some of the company’s own board members.
In addition, the new group is calling for the establishment of a trans support network for all of Activision Blizzard’s transgender staff and requests that Activision remain true to its promise to waive mandatory arbitration on any and all cases of alleged discrimination. (Blizzard claims that it previously implemented this in October 2021.) In the further interest of clarity, the committee wishes Activision to allow its employees full documentation of any communication with the human resources team.
“My hope in joining the committee is that we don’t let the fervor die down until there is meaningful, long-lasting change,” said Blizzard motion graphic designer Emily Knief. “At the end of the day, I would like to go into work and not have to think about anything but my work. But based on everything that has been happening, even well before it broke through the headlines, it has been taking up a sizable portion of my day, having to think about the inaction of leadership.”
Activision Blizzard responded to the new committee’s demands in a statement to The Washington Post.
“We appreciate that these employees want to join with us to further build a better Activision Blizzard and continue the progress we have already made,” writes Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor. “We have, for example, already upgraded our lactation facilities, waived arbitration, hired new DEI and EEO leaders, and collaborated with employees to make our policies and processes more Trans inclusive, just to name a few issues the letter raises.”
While one might assume some of the above demands would have been standard practice within such a massive, billion-dollar global organization, clearly there is still much work to be done in order to improve the safety, security, and mental well-being of the industry’s employees.
You can find an abridged timeline of the Activision Blizzard controversy, investigation, and response right here.