Little under a week ago, we reported on the shock lawsuit coming out of California, involving Activision Blizzard. It was revealed that the organisation was being sued following a two year investigation by the Californian DFEH agency. Among other allegations were claims of sexual harassment, unequal working conditions, and a ‘frat boy’ culture within the company.
Now, that situation has worsened dramatically, as Activision as a company released a response that has been dubbed ‘tone deaf’. It was Activision CEO Bobby Kotick who voiced this statement, condemning the original response as unapologetic and misplaced. It was quite simply more fuel to the fire for Activision Blizzard, which currently sits smouldering under the wreckage of a devastating lawsuit.
United They Stand
It was revealed very recently that more than 2,000 Activision employees from past and present had signed a damning petition. In the form of an open letter, this petition effectively denounced Activision Blizzard and its “abhorrent and insulting” retort to the situation. One of the most inflammatory parts of that response was a blind claim from Activision Blizzard that the lawsuit allegations were categorically incorrect.
There were clear demands listed in this open letter, including an almost desperate plea for changes at the highest level of the organisation. There are further damning allegations in the letter, such as the claim that Activision Blizzard has effectively ignored any claims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
In further response to the desperate situation, hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees are set to stage a walkout today, the 28th of July. This strike will help draw much-needed attention to this situation, and will further highlight the alleged plight of Activision Blizzard’s employees.
Time And Time Again
It must be stressed that this isn’t a lone anomaly in the gaming industry. In July of 2020, a devastating scandal emerged from behind the closed doors of Ubisoft, another gaming giant. It was revealed that countless claims of harassment, sexism, and inequality had been raised within the company over a number of years. Bizarrely, the vast majority of these allegations had gone unanswered, or totally ignored.
The very public outcry regarding this tragic revelation led to the dismissal or resignation of high-ranking Ubisoft employees. Although, a year later, it was unfortunately suggested that Ubisoft had made almost no changes following the slew of allegations levelled against it.
However, there are some indications that the Activision Blizzard reports are much more severe. Of course, you cannot quantify the severity of a situation like this, but the facts speak for themselves. Although, the most tragic allegation to come out of AB’s lawsuit is that a young, female employee took her own life as a result of her treatment within the company.
Activision Blizzard May Fall
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen in the impending future. It will not be a happy ending for Activision Blizzard, and there’s no doubt that these events will be a harsh and permanent mark on the record of an already flailing company.
In recent years, Activision Blizzard has come under fire for the mishandling of esports tournaments and the very games it builds. The flagship title of Blizzard’s, World of Warcraft, has been experiencing dwindling numbers for some time now. In fact, World of Warcraft has already come under siege from developers desperate to strip references to abusers and potential harassers from the game.
The case continues to push towards a resolution with each passing day.