Former and current Activision Blizzard employees continue to come forward with their stories of discrimination and gendered abuse this week, including multiple employees claiming that the company was particularly abusive to breastfeeding workers.
According to a new thread posted by Jessica Gonzalez on Wednesday depicting accusations from a Blizzard Women Discord server, breastfeeding workers were forced to sit on the floor to pump, given unsanitary tables and unsafe power outlets, and even had their breast milk repeatedly stolen from refrigerators that were supposed to be locked.
In that thread, ABK employee Stephanie Lyon said, "I'm not HR so I'm done tip-toeing around these issues to be sensitive, men stole them. And if they want to keep that hush hush, maybe they should circle back to me when I report these things and share with some transparency how they 1. plan to respond, and 2. how to mitigate these issues. . . I'm here to provide facts and testimony of my investigations. As one of the few women in security, I'm quite frankly tired of seeing HR not follow through on things that they should have followed up on."
ABK Producer Stephanie Krutsick corroborated the claims regarding breast milk stealing, saying that while she was nursing her pumped supply of breast milk was stolen from the breakroom refrigerator.
Krutsick explained: "This was in 2008. There was no fridge in the room, so I had to label and carry my breastmilk out and store it in the breakroom fridge. It was very clearly breastmilk, in baggies with a baby’s face on it. It was clearly mine, as I was the only lactating woman in the building. One day, I went to retrieve my pumped supply at the end of the day and it was gone. There were no other mothers in the building, & very few women at all in either QA or CS at the time. All the other items I had seen earlier were still in the fridge. They were dated and labeled."
She concluded, "someone had either taken my bags and tossed them, or stolen them for some creepy reason. This was devastating, not just for the creep factor but because I was already very low on supply and had a baby who wouldn’t latch. I was already supplementing and struggling to get milk."
She said that the person who did it was never found, calling the person who did it "demented" for stealing an infant's food.
In that same Twitter thread Krutsick also said that she felt judged and penalized for having to pump breast milk throughout her workday after having her babies.
"I ended up experiencing loss of project duties and received a lot of negative attitude from my male bosses and male middle management due to my lack of ability to physically be in the room, even though I was in the office and actively working and responding to comms," Krutsick stated.
According to Stephanie Lyon Peter's, after Wednesday's threads, the unsanitary tables that they mentioned were removed. She pointed out that this is the third time she brought this up to leadership, and it took a public accusation on Twitter to create change.
She concluded her thoughts by saying, "real conversations with the independent contributors, not managers, at different parts of the company 1:1 and learn from each other. We need to stop doing the legal minimum and start stepping up to do the ethical maximum."
The latest accusations join a slew of public accusations that have been revealed by various past and current employees in the wake of multiple gender discrimination lawsuits that were filed over the past year again ABK. Most notably, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a massive lawsuit against ABK this summer, accusing them of maintaining a sexist, frat house-like environment that discriminated against women on a rampant level.
In response to that lawsuit, ABK hired a law firm known for union-busting and has been accused by numerous employees of attempting to suppress the truth of the abuse accusations over the past several months. The scrutiny only continues to increase in response to ABK's apparent refusal to adjust and fix their allegedly toxic company culture.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.