In an echo of the staff rebellion at Punk IPA brewer BrewDog, disgruntled staff at computer games giant Activision Blizzard have criticised the company’s culture.
More than 1,000 employees past and present have signed a letter taking the company to task for its alleged “frat boy” (think of the film “Animal House”) culture.
Last week, the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment (DFEH) started proceedings against Activision Blizzard, famous for many classic computer games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, for an alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.
While former members of Activision Blizzard senior management team, such as Blizzard co-founder, have expressed shame at the company’s culture and have apologised for allowing the mistreatment of women working for the company, the current management has defended itself.
“The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past,” the company said in a statement.
“We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived,” the statement continued.
Activision Blizzard said the lawsuit was “an inaccurate complaint” and pledged to demonstrate that in court. A leaked email from Frances Townsend, the executive sponsor of the company’s Employee’s Women’s Network indicated she believes the lawsuit’s claims are “meritless and irresponsible”.
UPDATE: Activision Blizzard issued a lengthy statement to IGN about the lawsuit, saying “we are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people.”
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/jKFIpYX0S7
— CharlieIntel – Call of Duty News (@charlieINTEL) July 22, 2021
The company’s protestations have been undermined by the open letter signed by people who have worked for Activision Blizzard, which said the company’s reaction to the lawsuit, including Townsend’s response was “abhorrent and insulting”.
“We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry. Categorising the claims that have been made as ‘distorted, and in many cases false’ creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims. It also casts doubt on our organisations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future. These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first. Immediate corrections are needed from the highest level of our organization,” the letter said.