A letter was sent out this morning from over 800 Activision Blizzard employees following news of a lawsuit from The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in regards to reports of sexual harassment and discrimination at the company.
The letter starts by condemning the response made by Activision Blizzard – including the internal memo from Frances Townsend which the letter describes as abhorrent and insulting.
It ends with employees saying they will not stand aside or be silenced, and they will not give up, “Until the company we love is a workplace we can all feel proud to be a part of again.”
800+ Activision Blizzard Employees Condemn Company Response in Open Letter
Activision Blizzard employees are taking a stand following news of a lawsuit filed by California’s DFEH and the terrible response to it from company leadership.
The lawsuit was filed after a two-year investigation, and the details in the lawsuit documents that were released paint a very dark picture in regards to things happening behind the scenes at Activision Blizzard.
You can read more in the official document, and from outlets like Bloomberg. Quick content warning, the details included in the lawsuit documents are extremely upsetting to read, with one part talking about an employee who died by suicide.
And while the contents of the lawsuit are unspeakably awful, Activision Blizzard managed to dig themselves into an even deeper hole with the dismissive internal memo sent out to employees from Frances Townsend calling the lawsuit meritless.
Taking matters into their own hands, over 800 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a letter that went out today condemning the response from Activision Blizzard. The letter reads as follows:
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.
The letter makes a powerful statement and calls for real change within Activision Blizzard from Frances Townsend stepping down to executive leadership working with employees on, “New and meaningful efforts that ensure employees – as well as our community – have a safe place to speak out and come forward.”
Speaking with Kotaku, a representative also noted that those behind the letter are gathering signatures and working on next steps.
“Over the weekend we drafted an open letter to our leadership that is now gathering signatures from across our organizations, and have been working on next steps.”
We’ll report on those next steps as they’re shared. Additionally, we want to thank all of the employees behind the letter sent out today and can’t wait to hear more from them as to the changes being made at Activision Blizzard.