Hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees have signed the letter (published by Bloomberg, Polygon, day Kotaku) who objected to the company’s response to California’s allegations that Activision Blizzard has a discriminatory work culture and has problems with sexual harassment. The company’s response to the lawsuit, which paints a very annoying cultural picture and how women are treated there, largely dismisses the allegations.
In their letter, which can be read below, the employees said that the response “created an atmosphere of the company that did not trust the victim,” and they asked for “immediate correction” from the company’s top leaders.
The letter was written in response to public and internal statements made by Activision Blizzard and its executives in response to a California Department of Employment and Fair Housing lawsuit against the company. Part of the public’s response to the lawsuit was to call the state’s claim “irresponsible behavior from irresponsible State bureaucrats that drove many of California’s best businesses out.” The employee letter also asked executive Fran Townsend to resign from her role as sponsor for the company’s women’s network after she sent an email claiming the lawsuit painted a “false picture” of the company’s culture and called it “worthless.”
Polygon reported that the letter had garnered more than 800 signatures, with Bloomberg put the figure at “almost 1,000.” Activision Blizzard reported that it had about 9,500 employees as of December 2020, so one of those estimates would likely make that number north of 8 percent of the company. Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter can be read in full below:
Dear Activision Blizzard Leaders,
We, the undersigned, agree that the statement from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel on the DFEH lawsuit, as well as subsequent internal statements from Frances Townsend, is disgusting and insulting to everything we believe our company should expect. To put it clearly and emphatically, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.
We believe that this statement has undermined our ongoing efforts for equality within and outside our industry. Categorizing the claims made as “distorting, and in many cases false” creates an atmosphere of companies that do not trust the victim. This also casts doubt on our organization’s ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to perform in the future. This statement makes it clear that our leadership does not prioritize our values. Immediate corrections are needed from the highest levels of our organization.
Our company executives have claimed that action will be taken to protect us, but in the face of legal action – and the disturbing official response that followed – we no longer believe that our leaders will put employee safety above their own interests. To claim this is “a completely unreasonable and irresponsible claim,” while seeing so many current and former employees talk about their own experiences of harassment and abuse, is unacceptable.
We ask for an official statement recognizing the seriousness of these allegations and showing compassion to the victims of harassment and assault. We call on Frances Townsend to stick to her word to resign as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Women Employees Network as a result of the destructive nature of her statement. We ask the executive leadership team to work with us on new and meaningful efforts that ensure employees – as well as our community – have a safe place to speak up and come forward.
We stand with all friends, teammates, and colleagues, as well as members of our dedicated community, who have experienced persecution or harassment in any form. We won’t be silenced, we won’t quit, and we won’t give up until the company we love is a place of work that we can all feel proud to be a part of again. We will be a change.