Blizzard employees plan to walk out over sexism allegations

Olivia Richman • July 28, 07:21

A protest is brewing at Activision Blizzard. 

Employees are planning to stage a walkout on Wednesday, July 28 to protest the company’s response to accusations of sexism, harassment, and gender discrimination. The walkout will be held from 10 AM to 2 PM PST. According to IGN, a virtual walkout will also occur from 9 AM to 7 PM PST. Some within the gaming community have decided to join the protest by throwing away their Blizzard merchandise and games. 

More than 2,600 current and former Blizzard staff signed an open letter on July 27 when it came to light that Blizzard was denying a lot of the accusations found in the lengthy lawsuit.

The accusations included refusing to promote or hire qualified female workers, sometimes citing a “possible pregnancy” as the reason. The lawsuit also discussed “cubicle crawls” in which drunk male employees would go to female employees’ work stations to make inappropriate jokes and comments. Black female employees accused supervisors of micro-managing while allowing male employees to goof off and play games. One woman even allegedly committed suicide after male employees shared nude photos of her. 

The walkout includes a list of employee demands. This includes “an end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts,” which limit the ability of victims to seek restitution. Protestors also want to see new recruiting, hiring, and promotion policies that eliminate gender discrimination. The employees want a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion task force hired by a third party that will ensure the HR department and executive staff no longer fail to prevent employee harassment. 

While former employees like Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime have stated that the company “failed” women, others have continued to deny the claims brought up in the lawsuit. It has also been shown that higher-ups including president J. Allen Brack knew of harassment and did nothing to punish the accused employees. 

As Blizzard continues to call the accusations “distorted” and “false,” many employees have turned against the company. The protest will be the latest organized response to Blizzard’s response to victims of harassment, sexism, and discrimination. 

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