Why is Activision getting sued?
California Sues Gaming Giant Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment. A lawsuit filed by the state of California on Wednesday alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination and violations of the state's equal pay law at the video game giant Activision Blizzard. NPRSuit Claims Sexual Harassment, Discrimination At Game Studio Activision Blizzard
Bungie issued the statement on Twitter but also linked to and publicized it on its weekly blog post about the state of Destiny 2. While it didn’t directly name Activision Blizzard, the former business partner did emphasize that it believes victims when they come forward and, “is committed to doing everything in our power to combat systemic harassment, sexism, abuse, and inequality.”
Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify.
We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry.
It’s our responsibility to ensure this type of behavior is not tolerated at Bungie at any level, and that we never excuse it or sweep it under the rug.
While the accounts in this week’s news are difficult to read, we hope they will lead to justice, awareness, and accountability.
We have a zero-tolerance policy at Bungie for environments that support this toxic culture, and we are committed to rooting them out to defend those who are at risk.
Women, POC, and underrepresented communities have nothing to gain by reliving their trauma. We believe them when they come forward with reports of abuse or harassment.
We don’t pretend that Bungie is perfect and that no one has experienced harassment while working here, but we will not tolerate it and will confront it head on. And we will continue to do the work every day to be better.
Our goal is to continue to improve the experience for everyone working at Bungie and do our part to make the gaming industry as a whole to be more welcoming and inclusive.
A couple years after leaving behind Microsoft and the Halo series it created there in 2007, Bungie announced a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard. The first game to arrive under this new deal was the sci-fi epic Destiny, followed by several expansions and eventually a sequel in 2017. But according to reports the relationship was an acrimonious one, with Activision Blizzard pressuring the studio for more annualized releases in the vein of Call of Duty. Bungie finally split with the publisher in early 2019.
“Even more glad we broke off from Activision now,“ Bungie tools engineer James Haywood wrote on Twitter.
As Forbes’ Paul Tassi points out, Bungie has been forming inclusivity clubs over the past year, including Women at Bungie, Black at Bungie, and Trans at Bungie, to help improve the workplace. And as many have discussed on on Twitter in the past couple of days, issues around harassment and discrimination are endemic to the games industry, and no studio or company is immune, though few have been brought to light with the severity of what is laid out in the current Activision Blizzard lawsuit.
Read full article at Kotaku
23 July, 2021 - 10:14am
A role-playing guild called Fence Macabre is the organizer of the protests, though the group isn't content with just sit-ins. As awareness is raised concerning Blizzard's alleged toxic work culture, Fence Macabre is also working to raise money for Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization that aims to train 1 million young women of color in science, tech, engineering, and math skills by 2040. In the wake of California's lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, over $8,000 has been raised for Black Girls CODE, and the fundraiser will continue until July 26.
Several members of other World of Warcraft guilds have shown support for Fence Macabre's sit-in and have joined the group at Oribos. The protestors state that as members of the World of Warcraft community they are present to "protest the unethical treatment of employees at Activision Blizzard" and want to see "transparent lasting changes to their company and associated IPs." In order to avoid supporting Blizzard with financial gain during this time, most protestors are "sub-locked," which means their accounts are running off of pre-paid time.
Thank you everyone who came out to the #OribosSitIn, we could not have anticipated the community response and have raised over 8000$ for @BlackGirlsCode. Our fundraiser, linked in replies, will remain open until Monday July 26th. Our full statement:https://t.co/LMPY3mom6h pic.twitter.com/FywNPjMTNZ
Yet others are cancelling their subscriptions outright and leaving the game. This is a tough decision for many considering World of Warcraft has allowed them to foster friendships and community with people from all backgrounds. But it seems until Blizzard takes action to right the wrongs stated in the lawsuit, determined players are willing to boycott the company. For some, this news is a reminder of 2019's BlizzCon protests following Blizzard's controversial suspension and fining of professional Hearthstone player Blitzchung after he voiced support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests.
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack sent out an email to staff last night addressing the allegations from this week's explosive lawsuit, calling them "extremely troubling" and saying that he'd be "meeting with many of you to answer questions and discuss how we can move forward." pic.twitter.com/NsMV6CNdTE
The latest response to the reports of gender discrimination by Activision Blizzard has come from the company's president, J. Allen Brack. He has communicated with employees internally via email addressing the "extremely troubling" allegations and calling out discrimination within the company as "completely unacceptable." He has also stated that all employee claims made will be taken "very seriously." How all of this will affect Blizzard moving forward remains to be seen, but there is still a long road ahead for California's lawsuit.
World of Warcraft is available on PC.
23 July, 2021 - 10:10am
California is citing violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, saying the action is the result of a two-year investigation into claims made by former employees. While summing up the allegations as establishing a "frat boy culture" the list of wrongdoings the company is accused of carrying out is rather long but includes lower pay for female workers, as well as a longer and harder path to promotion. The state also claimed women were forced out of the company at an alarming rate over the years. Bungie, which first partnered with Activision Blizzard on Destiny and worked with the company for eight years before parting ways, seemingly issued the statement at least in part to make it clear it wasn't involved in the violations detailed in the lawsuit.
Bungie issued its statement in a long Twitter thread on Thursday evening, in part saying that employees at the company found the details of what was alleged to be difficult to read. The company added it has a "zero-tolerance" policy for the kind of culture that the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard claims was either encouraged or ignored.
The statement also made it clear Bungie believes the people who have come forward with claims that started the state's investigation. The Destiny 2 developer said there is nothing to gain from "reliving their trauma" and therefore the benefit of the doubt should be given to allegations such as these.
Bungie also admitted an understanding that while it does not actively support the kind of culture alleged to be formed at Activision Blizzard, the firm is not "perfect." The company also admitted that it can't claim there hasn't ever been incidents of harassment but if that kind of thing does happen, it won't be tolerated.
The Destiny 2 developer ended the statement by saying its goal is to continue to improve the working experience for everyone under its employ. The company also said that in the end, it wants to do its part to make sure that the gaming industry as a whole is more welcoming and inclusive than it currently seems to be.
22 July, 2021 - 06:22pm
“Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify,” Bungie’s statement begins. The six-tweet thread reaffirms Bungie’s zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and its commitment to rooting out toxic culture.
The statement also acknowledges a need to reflect on the endemic problems within the games industry. “We don’t pretend that Bungie is perfect and that no one has experienced harassment while working here,” Bungie writes. “But we will not tolerate it and will confront it head on. And we will continue to do the work every day to be better.”
Bungie says that "the accounts in this week's news are difficult to read," but the company hopes it will "lead to justice, awareness, and accountability." Bungie's statement is one of the few company statements that have come out since yesterday’s bombshell lawsuit.
California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Following a two-year investigation, the DFEH found Activision Blizzard discriminated against female employees at nearly all levels of employment in regards to compensation, promotion, assignments, and terminations.
The DFEH’s report says, Activision Blizzard assigned women and women of color to “lower paid and lower opportunity levels” and with salaries lower than their male counterparts for the same work. Activision Blizzard rebuked the DFEH's report and you can read the company's full statement in our report.
Bungie was previously partnered with Activision for eight years with the two companies working together on Bungie’s flagship franchise Destiny. In 2019, Bungie and Activision parted ways and Bungie assumed full publishing and development responsibilities on the Destiny franchise.
Bungie concluded its Twitter statement by writing, “Our goal is to continue to improve the experience for everyone working at Bungie and do our part to make the gaming industry as a whole to be more welcoming and inclusive.”