Open letter from Activision Blizzard employees demands action in response to sexual harassment lawsuit
I suspect we’re all struggling with the facts that have been brought to life with the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard that accuses the company of badly mistreating its female employees. Since the lawsuit was filed, we’ve seen many personal stories shared on social media, and many of them are hard to read. (The lawsuit itself is also hard to read.) And the company’s official response has been less than sympathetic, calling the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (which filed the lawsuit) “disgraceful and unprofessional,” while an internal email brushed off the lawsuit and stressed the ways Activision Blizzard has supported its employees.
In response, hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees came together to write an open letter to the company — and since Monday morning, the letter has received over a thousand signatures. They released the following statement alongside the letter:
Following the announcement from Activision Blizzard, and in light of the internal memo circulated by Frances Townsend, a group of hundreds employees from across all of Activision-Blizzard-King and its subsidiaries came together to take action. Over the weekend we drafted an open letter to our leadership that is now gathering signatures from across our organizations, and have been working on next steps. We appreciate the support of our fellow co-workers, past ABK employees, and our communities during this time. Rest assured we intend to demand change, and hold our leaders and companies accountable to the values we signed onto when joining.
You can read the letter in full 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.
At Blizzard Watch, we stand with the employees of Activision Blizzard in demanding action. The situation women in the industry face is intolerable and must change.
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