Employees of Activision Blizzard have announced a walkout for tomorrow, the latest action in an ongoing worker protest against the company in the wake of California’s lawsuit over discrimination and harassment. The walkout is scheduled to take place at Blizzard’s main headquarters in Irvine, Calif., tomorrow between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET.
Last week’s lawsuit came after a two-year investigation into the company. It alleges that Activision Blizzard has a history of mistreating its women employees, from rampant sexual harassment and discrimination, to unequal pay and relatiation. A letter distributed internally by an Activision executive refuted the charges in the lawsuit, calling them “meritless and irresponsible,” but former and current employees of Activision Blizzard have corroborated the accusations. In the days since the lawsuit was filed employees have demanded changes to the company and its leadership, distributing an open letter that has been signed by over 1600 current employees of the company, with over 2600 signatures in total so far. The employees’ letter calls Activision’s response to the lawsuit “abhorrent,” voices no trust in current leadership’s ability to ensure the safety of their employees, and demands that leadership collaborate with workers on new policies to guarantee the safety of employees and their ability to “speak out and come forward” about harassment, abuse and discrimination. (You can read the full letter here.)
The walkout comes two days after that letter was first distributed within the company. In a statement, walkout organizers make a variety of demands to improve employee conditions, with an emphasis on ensuring equality and protections for “women, and in particular women of color, transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.” Their demands include an independent diversity and inclusion task force to investigate the company’s human resources staff and executives, revised policies for recruiting and promotions, and other actions that aim to make the company more transparent and egalitarian. If you want to see what current and former Activision employees are saying about the lawsuit and the walkout, you can search for the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout on Twitter.
Activision Blizzard isn’t the first major gaming company to be accused of systemic discrimination and harassment. This isn’t the first time employees of a gaming giant have organized a walkout in protest of such mistreatment. This is probably the most visible worker protest against a gaming publisher, though, as it’s happening at the company responsible for such massive series as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. Clearly it’s time for some serious, structural change at Activision Blizzard.