Hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees walked off the job on Wednesday and congregated at the gate of Activision Blizzard's Irvine headquarters to protest the working conditions recently highlighted in a gender discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) last week. According to a report from Upcomer, there were more than 500 people joined the protest against Activision Blizzard's abusive culture.
Virtual employees also stepped away from work, using the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout on Twitter to participate in the work stoppage and protest against Activision Blizzard's long-standing culture sexism.
Protest organizers named four demands in the leadup to Wednesday walkout:
- The end of forced arbitration for all Activision Blizzard employees
- Increased worker participation in overseeing hiring and promotion policies
- Greater pay transparency across the board to ensure equal pay
- Employee control of a third party to audit HR
Activision Blizzard has not met any of those demands in the leadup to the protest, despite CEO Bobby Kotick's statement coming after these demands were made public.
The protest comes on the heels of over 2,500 employees, past and present, signing an open letter condemning Activision Blizzard's "abhorrent" response to the sexism allegations. In their initial response, the company called the complaint "inaccurate", "disgraceful", and "unprofessional", which drew the ire of the many victims at Activision and their allies who have come forward in the past few days to share their stories of abuse while working with the company.
While Bobby Kotick sent an email on Tuesday evening to employees, apologizing for the initial response and attempting to quell the discontented employees, protest organizers were not receptive to his answer which addressed none of the demands or complaints of the employees.
"While we are pleased to see that our collective voices - including an open letter with thousands of signatures from current employees - have convinced leadership to change the tone of their communications, this response fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns," the protest organizers said in a statement to Axios.
They continued, "today's walkout will demonstrate that this is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore. We will not return to silence; we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point. This is an enduring movement in favor of better labor conditions for all employees."
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.