Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick responded to an employee’s dismissal threat by sending an email to all of his staff last Tuesday, apologizing and admitting that the company’s recent actions were insensitive.
Activision Blizzard employees called for a strike Wednesday to demand fairer treatment, protesting the company’s responses to a recent sexism lawsuit and making it clear to everyone that the company is not inclusive enough for all employees.
In Kotick’s message, the CEO said the company had hired law firm WilmerHale to review its policies and promised it would take swift action to ensure a safer environment and eliminate sexism and harassment. Kotick also highlighted that the company will take steps such as changing personnel, promoting diversity in hiring, and removing inappropriate in-game content.
Outraged by these allegations, Activision employees began making their voices heard on social media, and more than 2,000 employees signed an open letter describing the company’s responses as “disgusting and insulting.” Employees are planning a strike today outside Blizzard’s campus in Irvine, California.
The strike is organized by a group of employees at Blizzard Entertainment, the subsidiary that focuses most of the lawsuit claims. In a statement to Bloomberg, workers told Bloomberg that their goal is to “improve the conditions of employees in the company, particularly women, and those working in particularly women of color and trans women, non-binary people and other marginalized groups.“
What are the expectations of Activision Blizzard employees from the company?
Activision Blizzard employees expressed their wishes within the scope of their protest actions as follows:
- Mandatory arbitration clauses in all current and future employee contracts will be discontinued. Arbitration provisions protect abusers and limit victims’ ability to seek compensation.
- Adopt hiring, interviewing, and promotion policies designed to improve representation among employees at all levels, agreed by employees in a company-wide organization of diversity, equality, and inclusion. Existing practices have led to the fact that women, especially women of color and transgender, non-binary people, and other marginalized groups who are vulnerable to gender discrimination, are not recruited fairly for new roles compared to men.
- Data will be published on relative compensation (including equity grants and profit sharing), promotion rates, and salary ranges for employees of all genders and ethnicities in the company. Current practices have resulted in the above groups not being paid or promoted fairly.
- The companywide diversity, equality, and inclusion task force will be strengthened to hire a third party to oversee ABK’s reporting structure, HR department, and management team. It is imperative to identify how existing systems fail to prevent employee harassment and propose new solutions to address these issues.