Activision Blizzard employees leave work to protest violent sexism and discrimination

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On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Blizzard employees gathered outside the company’s main campus in Irvine, California, to protest the company’s allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. They ask the game studio to accept four demands, including the termination of mandatory arbitration in all employment contracts. “Until these requirements are met, we will not stop fighting,” the spokesman said Limit.

The move will take place after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard on July 20th, arguing that the company had a general “frat boy” culture in which female employees were constantly harassed, discriminated against and underpaid.

At the trial, it was alleged that the male employee was nicknamed BlizzCon 2013 for his hotel room “Cosby Suite”. Kotaku study later found that several other employees were aware of the name. “We’re really excited to see these stories being told, and we appreciate the reporters who tell these stories,” says the work experience representative. Limit. “We stand next to the victims and are shocked by what we read. This only makes us commit to our mission.”

During the demonstration, workers stood side by side across two blocks and held signs that read “send frat boys back to school” and “women in the video game industry deserve a safe job.” The energy was hopeful, almost light despite the 80 degree heat. There were no demonstrations among colleagues, only phone calls. Around the corner, the organizers had built a tent for the protesters with water and snacks.

Photographer: Zoe Schiffer / The Verge

Employees said the lawsuit was a watershed for a company that had previously isolated victims of sexual harassment. “Validation took place and training was on,” the workforce representative says. “It was the way people realized that if they experienced something like this, they weren’t isolated cases. And people who might have been involved in this but didn’t know it was toxic behavior had a chance to learn that it was toxic.”

Reporters were urged not to speak directly with the protesters, as fear of footage of the discussions would produce sources.

These anxieties are not completely unfounded. During its two-year investigation, DFEH found numerous retaliatory measures.

Activision Blizzard initially denied the allegations and Chief Frances Townsend said: “We cannot allow others to be outrageous and a truly unforgivable lawsuit to damage our culture of respect and equal opportunities for all employees.” by Axios. Townsend previously served as George W. Bush’s domestic security advisor. He joined Activision Blizzard in January.

On Tuesday, CEO Bobby Kotick wrote a public letter calling the original answer “deaf”. He noted that the company had committed to an outside law firm, WilmerHale, to inspect its “policies and procedures.” Last year, Pinterest hired by WilmerHalen to explore its corporate culture after two prominent black women who had worked for the company were made public by claiming racism and discrimination.

Activision Blizzard employees say the executives ’latest note – while encouraging – doesn’t go far enough. “Right now, they’re not listening to us,” the spokesman said. “They’ve made it very clear.”

In addition to removing forced arbitration from employment contracts, employees want the company to reform its hiring and promotion process, publish pay and promotion information, and hire an outside company to audit the management team.

Photographer: Zoe Schiffer / The Verge

They say the end of compulsory arbitration is particularly important so that workers who have experienced harassment can come together to push for change. Doing so would “remove the feeling of isolation and allow for more solidarity with each other,” the spokesman said. “Besides, it helps reduce the risk of retaliation – it’s huge.”

Employees don’t say what actions they have planned next. When asked if staff plan to join the union, the organizers simply said, “no comments.” Yet they made it clear that the exit is not the end. “We’re taking something that has existed and passed the gaming industry for decades, and we’re starting to build the business,” the spokesman says. “So it’s important to remember where we came from with our demands, what the ultimate goal is, and not to forget it.”

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