Activision Blizzard staff demand better for trans people and women of colour
Employees of gaming giant Activision Blizzard are staging a formal walkout in the wake of the company being hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The walkout, held on 28 July, is calling on leadership to improve the working conditions for marginalised groups, particularly women of colour, transgender women, and non-binary people.
Prior to the walkout, staff had written an open letter to leadership demanding they “recognise the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault”.
The event will be both in-person and virtual. A live event will be staged from 10am-2pm (PT) at the Blizzard campus in California, while online employees will stop working from 9am-6pm (PT) and promote on social media using the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout.
“We are encouraging employees to take whatever time off they feel safe to do,” a spokesperson said to Kotaku.
“Most of us plan to take the full day off (without pay), but we understand some people like contractors and associates, and those who are paid less than they deserve, might not have the ability to do so.”
The walkout has been accompanied by a statement of intent to Activision Blizzard leadership
Following responses by leadership to the lawsuit, employees “believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership”.
The statement includes a number of demands, including:
- An end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, current and future.
- The adoption of diverse recruitment and promotional practices to improve representation
- Publication of data on salaries, compensation and promotion rates to deliver equity
- Empower a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion taskforce to audit the reporting structure, HR department and executive staff.
Organisers of the walkout are requesting other members of the gaming community to show their support online using the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag.
They’re also promoting the following diverse charities:
- Black Girls Code
- Futures without Violence
- Girls Who Code
- Women In Animation
- Women in Games International
The lawsuit against Activision Blizzard was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for its “frat boy” workplace culture and instances of sexual harassment.
Many Activision Blizzard employees, current and former, have spoken out about their experiences at the company, including both men and women.
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