#ActiBlizzWalkout goes viral as Activision Blizzard employees walk out to protest the gaming giant's alleged discriminatory practices

·3 min read
Blizzard Entertainment
Activision / Blizzard Entertainment
  • Activision Blizzard employees walked out Wednesday in response to a recent lawsuit.

  • Organizers have a series of demands that company leadership has not yet responded to.

  • #ActiBlizzWalkout trended on social media in response to the walkout with over 100,000 tweets.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

On Wednesday, Activision Blizzard employees walked out to protest the company's response to a lawsuit filed last week.

The lawsuit, filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), alleged that the video-gaming company engaged in unfair workplace practices, discriminated against female employees, and failed to take disciplinary action against bad actors.

Activision Blizzard is the holding company whose subsidiaries Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment have published video-game staples like "World of Warcraft," "Overwatch," and "Call of Duty."

Current and former employees of the company, as well as supporters of the protest, gathered outside Blizzard Entertainment's Irvine, California, campus on Wednesday to protest the leadership's response to the lawsuit.

Over 500 people gathered to protest, according to Upcomer, filling the sidewalk of Laguna Canyon Road.

The protest came after a letter signed by over 2,000 employees accused the company on Monday of creating an "atmosphere that disbelieves victims" and that "our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

The DFEH alleged in its July 20 complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, that Activision Blizzard created a "frat boy environment" leading to women receiving lower wages, unfair treatment, and sexual harassment. The DFEH declined to comment for this story.

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack sent an internal email to employees on July 22, as reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, writing that the accusations made him "angry, sad" and that they "take these claims very seriously."

Executive Fran Townsend sent out her own email, which was also obtained by Schreier, said that the lawsuit "presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company" and called the suit "meritless and irresponsible."

Activision Blizzard employees made demands to leadership

On Tuesday, the day after 2,000 employees signed the open letter to management, Blizzard fansite WoWHead obtained a series of demands from the collective of employees, which was also shared on social media.

The demands include an end to all mandatory arbitration clauses, policies "designed to improve representation among employees at all levels," the publication of employment data, and the creation of a "Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion task force."

On Tuesday night, CEO of Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick released his own statement calling the company's initial responses "tone deaf."

He added, "we did not provide the right empathy and understanding."

Organizers of the Activision Blizzard walkout released their own statement in response to Kotick, writing "the response fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

#ActiBlizzWalkout trends worldwide in response to the allegations

In a span of 24 hours, the hashtag "#ActiBlizzWalkout," started by former employees of the company to show solidarity, went viral. The hashtag has been used over 100,000 times on Twitter in under 24 hours, according to the platform.

The walkout message asks that those that cannot attend not play any of the company's titles for that period and donate to a series of charities including Black Girls Code and Futures Without Violence.

During the walkout, the live player count of "World of Warcraft" according to ActvePlayer.io was around 69,000 compared to the peak of the month hovering around 600,000.

Activision Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment by publication.

Read the original article on Insider