In a press conference held on November 16th, Activision-Blizzard employee Jen MacLean called out the company for its “systemic sexism.” In light of recent events at Kotaku and other companies in the industry, she made several demands including an independent oversight system to review harassment claims.
Yesterday, the thumbscrews surrounding Activision-Blizzard and Bobby Kotick tightened even further when a current employee, named only as Christine, held a news conference with her lawyer to discuss sexual harassment and subsequent discrimination from studio executives. During her four-year work, the employee claims she was subjected to many incidences of sexual harassment, including propositioning from her superiors, and that as a result, Blizzard demoted her and barred her from profit sharing and other financial prospects.
Christine was represented by controversial lawyer Lisa Bloom, who agreed with Christine’s three demands: that Blizzard increase the compensation fund for those affected by the scandal from $18 million to $100 million, that Blizzard issue a “real apology” to those harassed and discriminated against, and that a neutral third party assessor be called in to audit the damage done to the company’s employees.
“We applaud the bravery of our current and past workers in coming forward with complaints of misconduct, and we are deeply sorry for any victims of persons whose behavior did not live up to our principles,” Activision Blizzard said in a statement after the conference. We’re in the midst of making substantial adjustments and enhancements to our compliance and human resources teams’ scope, structure, and efficiency, as well as our reporting systems and openness in our investigative process. Our first concern is the safety and care of our workers, particularly those who have been injured.” Of course, the fact that the corporation has taken no action against CEO Bobby Kotick, who has been credibly accused of harassment, casts doubt on these claims.
Meanwhile, Jessica Gonzalez, a former Blizzard employee and A Better ABK organizer, spoke out about how the corporation fails to help nursing women, which was cited in California’s initial lawsuit:
This is the perfect illustration of prejudice at ABK if you’ve ever desired one. This type of disregard for nursing employees would be illegal everywhere else, yet it occurred on a regular basis at Blizzard. Accommodating shouldn’t be a last-minute decision. We can, and should, do better for our employees. twitter.com/ThXf5DI04z
#WeAreRaven (@BlizzJess) December 8, 2021 Jessica Gonzalez
Due to a lengthy run of controversies in the MMO and gaming field over the past several years, including the Blitzchung boycott, huge layoffs, labor issues, and executive pay controversy, Activision-Blizzard is regarded a problematic corporation in the MMO and gaming industry. The company was sued by the state of California in the summer of 2021 for fostering a work environment that was riddled with sexual harassment and discrimination, and the company’s disastrous response has added to Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are on the decline. Multiple state and federal authorities are investigating the corporation as of autumn 2021, and the industry has demanded Bobby Kotick’s resignation after further allegations on his wrongdoings.