Earlier this week, Activision Blizzard was sued by the state of California over widespread abuse and harassment of employees–specifically women and minorities. Activision Blizzard gamers are protesting the news and cancelling promotional events. Former and current employees are sharing their experiences on social media, as well as expressing solidarity and solidarity with coworkers.
Activision Blizzard’s top leaders responded to the scandal with memos to their employees after the news of the lawsuit caused so much anger and hurt. These statements are contradictory in that they do not address whether the accusations are “irresponsible, meritless”, or unacceptable behavior. The company must take more steps to protect its employees.
Yesterday evening, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack sent an internal email to employees. Brack stated that the conduct described in the lawsuit was “completely unacceptable” and reiterated that harassment was not tolerated. He also reiterated Blizzard’s commitment to employee safety, and the right to speak up without fear of reprisal. Brack advised employees to speak to him about grievances. He said that he would work to help the company move forward.
Yesterday, Activision president Rob Kostich sent an email to his staff. He stated that the allegations were “deeply concerning” and that the behavior described was not consistent with Activision’s values.
Although neither email corroborates the lawsuit’s allegations, they both condemn the behavior described and reiterate Activision’s and Blizzard’s commitment to employee safety and health. Both companies understand the pain of employees and have made a commitment to finding a solution.
An internal email sent by another Activision Blizzard executive today was toned down. Fran Townsend (Activision Blizzard’s Chief Compliance Officer and former Bush-era Homeland Security advisor) immediately attacked the lawsuit in an email. She stated that it “presented [Activision Blizzard] as a distorted, untrue and inaccurate picture, including factually incorrect and old stories, some from more than a century ago.”
Townsend shares her personal experience with Activision Blizzard as anecdotal evidence. She wrote that she was sure that she was joining a company where she would be valued and treated with respect. This has been my experience.
Townsend has been with the company for just four months. He then speaks about Activision Blizzard’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as its commitment to equal treatment of employees, before getting back into the lawsuit. “We cannot allow the egregious acts of others, and an truly meritless, irresponsible suit, damage our culture for respect and equal opportunity.