Activision Blizzard employees plan walkout following lawsuit

Activision Blizzard

On Wednesday, employees will suspend work to demand improved conditions

Activision Blizzard staff are organizing a walkout, following a lawsuit filed against the company last week by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for discrimination and sexual harassment.

Yesterday, many current and former employees signed a letter decrying Activision Blizzard’s response to the lawsuit and its allegations, which a company spokesperson said included “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” An internal email from Activision Blizzard executive Frances Townsend also described some stories as “factually incorrect, old, and out of context.”

The letter characterized the company’s response as “abhorrent and insulting,” and on Wednesday, employees plan a walkout, which will reportedly be staged both virtually and at the Blizzard campus at Irvine. This is similar to the walkout held in 2019 at Riot Games, over a lawsuit brought against the company and its forced arbitration clause.

In a statement to Bloomberg, the workers participating said their goal is 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.”

This includes demands to remove mandatory arbitration clauses “in all employee contracts, current and future,” as well as new practices for recruiting, hiring, and promotion that facilitate better representation agreed upon by the employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion organization.

They also demand the publication of data on relative compensation, promotion rates, and salary range for employees of all genders and ethnicities at the company, and that a diversity task force be allowed to bring in a third party to audit the company’s leadership, hierarchy, and HR department.

Organizers also told Polygon that they ask supporters to donate to various charities, including Black Girls Code, Futures Without Violence, Girls Who Code, RAINN, Women in Animation, and Women in Games International, as well as use the hashtag “#ActiBlizzWalkout” online.

Eric Van Allen