Walkout protest follows a lawsuit filed against the gaming giant claiming a deeply abusive culture that ‘fostered sexual harassment and discrimination.’
The Boy’s Club is exposed once again! Just two years after major gaming studio Riot Games came under fire for gender discrimination, Activision Blizzard, makers of hugely successful game franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Guitar Hero, is facing protests for a “Frat Boy” culture that, according to a Deadline report, “fostered sexual harassment and discrimination.” The protest, set for today, July 28th, aims to raise awareness and “improve conditions for employees at the company,” who were directly affected by the discriminatory culture.
This week’s walkout also serves to emphasize a lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard earlier in July, which the gaming giant’s executive, Fran Townsend called “meritless.” Over 2,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees collectively penned a letter to criticize Townsend’s response. “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 read. “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.”
In a letter published on the company website, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized for the response to the lawsuit, and promised “swift action” to correct a company culture that allegedly led one woman to die by suicide. Can such a deeply entrenched abusive environment even be fixed? Especially one that had a celebrated Bill Cosby Suite?