A large group of Activision Blizzard employees have planned a ‘Walkout for Equality’ today. The demonstration is in response to the recent California DFEH suit filed against the game developer in response to alleged rampant gender discrimination and an overhanging “frat boy” culture, as well as the following response from the company’s higher ups. Many workers feel that, “[their] values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.”
Activision Blizzard’s activists
According to an official statement on Blizzard Watch, the walkout is intended to “call on the executive leadership team” and makes several demands meant to improve conditions for employees, with particular focus on women, especially those that also belong to marginalised groups — women of colour and transgender women for example.
The statement calls for improved recruitment, interview, hiring and promotion policies, which have thus far led to women “not being hired fairly for new roles when compared to men. Additionally, it demands the publication of data on promotion rates, salary ranges for employees and relative compensation for all employees, regardless of gender, as well as the creation of a company wide ‘Diversity, Equity & Inclusion task force’. This task force would hire an outside auditor to assess Activision Blizzard’s human resources department, reporting structure and executive staff in order to root out and solve problems of discrimination.
Worth noting is that one of the chief demands is an end to mandatory arbitration clauses in employee contracts. The activist group believes that such causes protect abusers and prevent victims from receiving full restitution.
The Walkout for Equality will take place outside of the main gate of the Blizzard campus, but will not enter it due to current Covid-19 health and safety measures, and will run from 10AM – 2PM PDT (7PM – 11 AM on South African time). The statement encourages employees unable to show support in person to participate on social media using the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag. It also encourages anyone else who wishes to support the protest to use the same hashtag, and donate to one of several charities listed on Blizzard Watch.