The staff at US-based game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard staged a walkout on May 28, over the company’s stance on charges of sexual harassment and sexism at the workplace.
The firm is widely reputed for popular games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, but it seems like there is also a dark, horrific side to it, which has finally come to light amid claims of inappropriate behaviour, a “frat party” environment, and gender-based discrimination, which ultimately led to the State of California suing the game maker, over allegations of tolerating and encouraging practices that are in violation of the state’s workplace protection legislations.
#ActiBlizzWalkout and Solidarity:
Not only the staff, but even customers making use of the games published by Blizzard, had decided to show solidarity with the employees, and had said that they will not be logging in to any Blizzard products for the duration of the walkout. Even those people who could not join the walkout in person, were encouraged to show their support online, by trending the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout on social media.
During the Activision Blizzard walkout, employees took to protesting outside the company’s Irvine campus on Wednesday, with some holding signs which read “fight bad guys in game, fight bad guys IRL,” and “women’s voices matter.”
The allegations against Activision Blizzard had been filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), after a two year-long investigation into the same.
The female staff of the firm have put forward some disturbing accusations towards the male employees and executives at Blizzard, some of which include charges of drunken harrassment, passing of lewd comments towards female employees, inappropriate physical touch.
Moreover, they have also claimed that the bosses did nothing but turn a “deaf ear” to the complaints and retaliations made by them against such practices, and have accused that women were treated unfairly, and often discriminated against, especially in terms of promotion opportunities and equal pay. The investigation has also discovered that women make up only about 20% of the staff at the company, following which, over 2,000 employees have signed an open letter calling for an end to such harrassment and discriminatory practices.
At the same time, Activision Blizzard has blatantly denied all such allegations, calling them “distorted,” and often times, “false.” However, CEO Bobby Kotick has said that they will be looking into every individual allegation, and won’t “hesitate to take decisive action.”