Overwatch League loses more sponsors as workers expose Activision-Blizzard’s toxic culture


The fallout from the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard just keeps on dropping.

Yesterday, more sponsors of the Overwatch League pulled support from the esports giant. Kellogg told Polygon that it “will not be moving forward with any new programs this year, but will continue to review progress made against [Blizzard’s] plans.” Kellogg owns Cheez-It and Pringles, meaning those logos have now been removed from the partner website.

Previously, we’d reported on the movements of sponsors T-Mobile, Coca-Cola, and State Farm, each of which had made efforts to pause advertising and sponsorship activities and granted statements making their position known. IBM hasn’t made any statements but does appear to have halted ads.

In other words, OWL is running out of sponsors thanks to this scandal. Earlier this week, a Blizzard VP denied the still-circulating rumor that OWL was planning to take a year-long hiatus.

Meanwhile, Polygon has up another piece digging into Activision-Blizzard’s forgotten workers – the QA testers and customer service reps – who are just as unhappy with the company’s “toxic” culture. In a report that is not unlike the stories that surfaced last summer, employees and contractors discussed a poisonous culture of shifting contract work that makes it impossible to build a career, absurdly long hours and low pay, crunch periods that went on for weeks, abuse from gamers, and an environment where “higher-ups often emphasized to them that ‘real’ developers are more important and that QA workers are easily replaceable.”

And the workers made clear that it isn’t just a Blizzard problem; workers pointed to Activision games – yes, Call of Duty – and support centers too.

“Activision Blizzard workers told Polygon that leadership in Texas and Minnesota have been positioning the lawsuit and its alleged toxic culture as a problem specific only to Blizzard Entertainment, which is cited frequently in the court documents. But workers from other studios told Polygon that’s not true: The problems are in all facets of the company, and contracted workers in both QA and customer service say they feel vulnerable due to the lack of job stability.”

Further reading:

Source: Polygon, Polygon
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