Over 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed an open letter to the company’s management, criticizing its response to the discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed last week.
A wealth of current employees from across all parts of Activision Blizzard have signed the letter that calls Activision Blizzard's response to the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit “abhorrent and insulting.”
Initially signed by 1,000 current and former employees, the list has now grown to over 2,000, according to CNN Business.
“Our company executives have claimed that actions will be taken to protect us, but in the face of legal action -- and the troubling official responses that followed -- we no longer trust that our leaders will place employee safety above their own interests,” the letter says, per Bloomberg.
For context, Activision executive Frances Townsend described the lawsuit as “factually incorrect, old and out of context” in a statetment. This clearly has not gone down well with the Activision Blizzard staff at large.
“To claim this is a ‘truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,’ while seeing so many current and former employees speak out about their own experiences regarding harassment and abuse, is simply unacceptable.”
The letter claims that responses made by Activision Blizzard leadership and management were “distorted, and in many cases false”, and notes that management was responsible for creating “a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims” and “casts doubt on [the] organisation’s ability to hold abusers accountable”.
After the lawsuit went public, World of Warcraft senior system designer Jeff Hamilton revealed that work on the game has been halted as teams navigate through this crisis.
In response to the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard brought by the state of California, former president Mike Morhaime and current president J. Allen Brack have issued public and company-focused statements regarding the allegations brought forth in the suit. These responses were also criticized by staff.
The full letter can be seen below:
To the Leaders of Activision Blizzard,
We, the undersigned, agree that the statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, are abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for. To put it clearly and unequivocally, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.
We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry. Categorizing the claims that have been made as “distorted, and in many cases false” creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims. It also casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future. These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first. Immediate corrections are needed from the highest level of our organization.
Our company executives have claimed that actions will be taken to protect us, but in the face of legal action — and the troubling official responses that followed — we no longer trust that our leaders will place employee safety above their own interests. To claim this is a “truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,” while seeing so many current and former employees speak out about their own experiences regarding harassment and abuse, is simply unacceptable.
We call for official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault. We call on Frances Townsend to stand by her word to step down as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network as a result of the damaging nature of her statement. We call on 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 out and come forward.
We stand with all our friends, teammates, and colleagues, as well as the members of our dedicated community, who have experienced mistreatment or harassment of any kind. We will not be silenced, we will not stand aside, and we will not give up until the company we love is a workplace we can all feel proud to be a part of again. We will be the change.