According to the press release by Microsoft on their new Xbox One, Activision and Microsoft has renewed their long term partnership, as noted earlier, bringing all DLC first on Xbox. But, the press release has also confirmed that the “Call of Duty: Championship”, presented by Xbox will be returning as well.
Activision and Microsoft also announced the renewal of their close partnership that will see both the return of the “Call of Duty® Championship,” presented by Xbox
Exact details on when it’ll be taking place is not yet announced.
Activision Blizzard employees sign letter to company executives over ‘insulting’ statements in response to lawsuit
Over 1,000 employees respond to the company’s executives, asking for better responses and a way to move forward.
Activision Blizzard employees have signed a statement sent to the company’s executives calling out the executive’s statements in response to the California lawsuit on sexual harassment incidents.
The letter specifically calls out Activision Blizzard’s executives, including Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend, over internal and public statements made in response to the lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment.
Activision Blizzard’s only public statement on the lawsuit diminished the claims in the lawsuit as being “old” and the culture has “changed.”
Internally, both Blizzard’s President and Fran Townsend sent emails that enraged employees. Townsend’s email specifically caused further backlash over diminishing the allegations entirely.
Townsend’s email said “presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories – some from more than a decade ago” which angered employees internally over a tone deaf response.
The employee’s letter says, “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.”
Here’s the full letter that employees sent:
“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.”
Many employees of Blizzard entertainment have been posting publicly on social media calling out the executives’ of the company over their response. Some have even said that Fran Townsend does “not represent” their views and her internal email was “abhorrent.”
The allegations have taken the community by storm, with several Blizzard Entertainment developers sharing on Twitter their personal reaction to the lawsuit. Several have voiced their disdain for how such a culture was allowed to be fostered.
The lawsuit even trigged responses from Activision Blizzard’s past executives, including the former CEO of Blizzard Entertainment.
Activision Blizzard has not issued a public statement on the situation since their first on July 21, and the company’s social media empire has been silent since then.
Activision Blizzard execs respond internally to California lawsuit, calling allegations ‘troubling’
Activision Blizzard executives have sent internal emails to staff in response to the recent lawsuit.
Activision Blizzard executives have sent out internal company wide emails in response to the lawsuit from the California state government over the work culture at Blizzard Entertainment.
J. Allen Brack, the President of Blizzard Entertainment, sent an email to all Blizzard staff Thursday evening stating that the allegations mentioned in the lawsuit were ‘troubling’ and invoked many ’emotions.’
The internal memo from Brack, leaked by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, calls the allegations “extremely troubling.”
“I know many of you would like to receive more clarity. While I can’t comment on the specifics of the case as it’s an open investigation, what I can say is that the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unavailable.”
The allegations in the lawsuit included describing Blizzard’s workplace culture similar to that of a ‘frat culture’ where male employees would drink alcohol and “crawl” around the office to harass female employees.
The lawsuit also alleged that female employees faced discrimination in terms of pay, benefits, and promotions.
The full internal email is below, as shared by Schreier:
In his email, Brack also says he and the leadership team will be “meeting with many” employees to understand how the company “can move forward.”
Another email was sent internally by Activision Blizzard’s Chief Compliance Officer, Fran Townsend. Ms. Townsend joined Activision Blizzard in March 2021.
She is former Bush administration official in Homeland Security. Her email was worded quite differently, which sparked some backlash from both community and from employees of the company.
In her email, she states that the lawsuit filed “presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories – some from more than a decade ago.”
Schreier reports that many employees are “fuming” over her email. Some spoke out publicly, including many Warcraft devs saying they wouldn’t be working on Friday in response to this email.
Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend, who was the Homeland Security Advisor to George W. Bush from 2004-2007 and joined Activision in March, sent out a very different kind of email that has some Blizzard employees fuming. pic.twitter.com/BxGeMTuRYF— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 23, 2021
Activision Blizzard has not issued a new statement publicly about the situation since their initial one that was shared alongside the surfacing of the lawsuit.
We’ll continue to closely follow this story and provide updates on what happens.
Activision Blizzard sued by California over work place sexual harassment incidents
A lawsuit has been filed by California’s government against Activision Blizzard over ‘frat boy’ work culture.
The state of California has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over the company’s alleged toxic workplace culture that was described as a ‘frat boy’ work place.
The state of California filed the lawsuit on July 20, 2021 against Activision Blizzard for what they state is a work place environment that is sexist and discriminates against female employees on numerous occasions, further alleging sexual harassment incidents occurred at Blizzard.
The lawsuit, reported by Bloomberg Law, states Activision Blizzard offices had a “frat boy workplace culture” that included many shocking incidents. The lawsuit alleges that male employees would “drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.”
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing further alleges that Activision Blizzard discriminated against female employees by providing lower salaries, benefits, and contracts that differed from male counter parts. The suit alleges that female employees experienced numerous sexual harassment incidents working at Blizzard offices.
Some female employees who worked on World of Warcraft at Blizzard had to work with male employees who would hit on them or flirt with them during workplace encounters, the suit alleges. Some of these males were supervisors for departments too.
Another section alleges a male employee at Blizzard giving his responsibilities to a female employee to give himself more time to play Call of Duty at work.
One of the more horrifying allegations in the lawsuit states a female employee took her own life while on a company trip with her male supervisor. The lawsuit alleges the female employee experienced extensive sexual harassment at the company.
The lawsuit further alleges that male employees shared sexual explicit content during work parties, including explicit pictures amongst each other.
Many of the incidents referenced occurred at the Blizzard Entertainment division of Activision Blizzard. Blizzard Entertainment is overseen by President J. Allen Barrack, who is referenced in the lawsuit.
The full lawsuit, filed in the state of California court jurisdiction, can be read in its entirety here.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing claims that they attempted to work with Activision Blizzard to address the issues over the last few years, even as recently as this year. But the Department was not pleased by Activision’s responses and believed the company failed to adequately address the situations and inequality at the work place.
Activision Blizzard issued a lengthy comment to multiple outlets about the lawsuit. The company denies serious allegations of the suit, and even goes after California state ‘bureaucrats,’ claiming company’s are leaving California over the state’s government.
Activision Blizzard statement also directly calls out California’s lawsuit for bringing up the suicide of the female employee in the suit, stating its “disgraceful,” but didn’t clarify the incident itself as alleged in the lawsuit.
The statement ends stating that Activision Blizzard “are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people.”
Activision Blizzard’s full statement is below:
We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.
The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court. We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family. While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.
The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today. Over the past several years and continuing since the initial investigation started, we’ve made significant changes to address company culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams. We’ve updated our Code of Conduct to emphasize a strict non-retaliation focus, amplified internal programs and channels for employees to report violations, including the “ASK List” with a confidential integrity hotline, and introduced an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns. We have strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and combined our Employee Networks at a global level, to provide additional support. Employees must also undergo regular anti-harassment training and have done so for many years.
We put tremendous effort in creating fair and rewarding compensation packages and policies that reflect our culture and business, and we strive to pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take a variety of proactive steps to ensure that pay is driven by non-discriminatory factors. For example, we reward and compensate employees based on their performance, and we conduct extensive anti-discrimination trainings including for those who are part of the compensation process.
We are confident in our ability to demonstrate our practices as an equal opportunity employer that fosters a supportive, diverse, and inclusive workplace for our people, and we are committed to continuing this effort in the years to come. It is a shame that the DFEH did not want to engage with us on what they thought they were seeing in their investigation.”
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Activision Blizzard employees sign letter to company executives over ‘insulting’ statements in response to lawsuit
Over 1,000 employees respond to the company's executives, asking for better responses and a way to move forward.
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