Activision Blizzard Employees Walked Out Over Discrimination And Harassment Allegations

Players also joined in solidarity with a mass logout.

Employees of Activision Blizzard staged a walkout on Wednesday to protest the company's response to a lawsuit alleging a culture of harassment and discrimination toward women.

Workers planned to walk off the job — whether at home or at the company's campus in California — starting at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Four demands were distributed by organizers on social media: an end to mandatory arbitration clauses, better policies for hiring and promotions, public compensation data, and a third-party audit.

In a statement of intent, organizers said, "We believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership."

The protest comes after a lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleged a "frat boy" culture that included sexual harassment of women, employment discrimination, and retaliation.

After a two-year investigation, the department said a woman died by suicide after enduring harassment and that Black women in particular were mistreated. The lawsuit said women were passed over for promotions, unfairly delegated work by male colleagues, and scrutinized for taking maternity leave.

The company previously told IGN that it cooperated with investigators. "We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told IGN. "The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past."

At least 2,000 employees also signed a letter condemning the company's response to the allegations, calling it "abhorrent and insulting.”

Regarding the walkout, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the company is "fully committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and rewarding environment for all of our employees around the world."

The company also confirmed that employees would not be penalized or lose pay if they participated in the walkout.

"We support their right to express their opinions and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of retaliation," the spokesperson said.

People outside the company have been asked to show their support with the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout and the blue heart emoji. They've also encouraged donations to groups like Black Girls Code and RAINN.

While there has been no official call from employees to boycott the game World of Warcraft, some players participated in a virtual walkout to coincide with the physical one.

Some players gathered in a central location at 9 a.m. Pacific time, sharing messages of support (and some trolling). At 10 a.m., participants logged off simultaneously.

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