Activision to fight harassment lawsuit – over 1000 employees call it ‘abhorrent’
While Activision seeks to handle the lawsuit situation internally, many of its own employees are publicly demanding change.
At this point, everyone and their grandma knows about the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. The Call Of Duty publisher has been hit with multiple allegations of sexual harassment and extremely discriminatory behaviour within its workplace and is being sued by the State of California.
At the time, Activision emphatically denied the allegations, saying ‘The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.’ As such, it’s unsurprising to learn that the company intends on fighting the lawsuit and is attempting to resolve it internally.
According to UppercutCrit, unnamed sources within Activision say a Zoom meeting was held on Monday, July 26 to address the lawsuit. There, executive Joshua Taub admitted that while he and CEO Bobby Kotick had never witnessed instances of harassment, that ‘does not mean this behaviour does not happen.’
However, he also said ‘Zero tolerance means claims are investigated properly. We don’t publicise all of these claims, we work with the employee and the person who is accused and try to work on a resolution … The best way for protection is reaching out to your supervisors, hotline, and avenues.’
The allegations have already suggested that employees were either actively discouraged from seeking assistance from the higher-ups and any attempts to do so were supposedly intercepted or outright ignored.
Despite his prior acknowledgement of the issues, Taub has said that Activision will be fighting the lawsuit, ‘It will go through a legal process but this is an allegation, not a conviction.’
Activision’s responses to the suit have, unsurprisingly, not gone down well with either the general public or its own employees. In fact, over a thousand of Activision Blizzard staff members have apparently signed a letter calling the responses ‘abhorrent’ and ‘insulting.’
The letter has already been sent to the managers and was shared with Kotaku, ‘To put it clearly and unequivocally, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership,’ it reads.
‘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 organisations’ 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.’
The employees demand ‘official statements that recognise the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault’ as well as the resignation of Frances Townsend as executive sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network.
This is due to an internal memo sent by Townsend (who also serves as chief compliance officer), which called the lawsuit ‘meritless and irresponsible’ and that it ‘presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories.’
Townsend’s hire in March of this year was already controversial, as she had previously served as homeland security advisor under George W. Bush from 2004 to 2007 and defended the Bush administration’s use of torture.
an email sent to Activsion staff from Fran Townsend doubles down on claims that the recent lawsuit is “distorted and untrue” with “out of context stories” pic.twitter.com/Cru8KBC288
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