The thumbscrews around Activision-Blizzard and Bobby Kotick tightened that much more yesterday when a current employee of the company, identified only as Christine, held a press conference with her lawyer to share the sexual harassment and subsequent discrimination from representatives within the studio. The staffer alleges that she dealt with multiple incidents of sexual harassment, including propositioning from her superiors, and that in response, Blizzard demoted her and blocked her from profit sharing and other financial opportunities during her four-year tenure.
Christine was represented by controversial lawyer Lisa Bloom, who shared Christine’s three demands for change: that Blizzard increase the compensation fund for those affected by the scandal from $18M to $100M, that Blizzard make a “real apology” to those harassed and discriminated against, and that a neutral third party assessor be called in to audit the damage done to the company’s staff.
Activision Blizzard released a statement after the conference that read, in part, “We appreciate the courage of our current and former employees in coming forward with reports of misconduct, and we are truly sorry for any victims of people whose conduct did not live up to our values […] We are in the process of implementing significant changes and improvements to the scope, structure and efficiency of our compliance and human resources teams, reporting systems, and transparency into our investigation process. The safety and support of our employees, especially those who have suffered, remains our top priority.” Of course, these statements are undermined by the fact that the company has declined to take any action against CEO Bobby Kotick, who was credibly accused of harassment himself.
Meanwhile, former Blizzard employee and A Better ABK organizer Jessica Gonzalez shed some light on how breastfeeding mothers are not properly supported in the company, an offense mentioned in California’s original lawsuit:
If you've ever wanted a prime example of discrimination at ABK, this is it. This kind of negligence towards breastfeeding workers is criminal anywhere else, but it happened daily at Blizzard. Accommodating shouldn't be an afterthought. We can and should do better by our workers pic.twitter.com/ThXf5DI04z
— Jessica Gonzalez 🤍💙 #ABetterABK #ABetterUbisoft (@_TechJess) December 8, 2021
Today, the ABK Worker's Alliance announces the initiation of its strike. We encourage our peers in the Game Industry to stand with us in creating lasting change. For those who wish to join in solidarity, please consider donating to our Strike Fund.https://t.co/IauGyxuLYG
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 9, 2021
Finally, the SOC Investment Group, which holds an undisclosed amount of Coca-Cola shares, has also urged the Coca-Cola board, on which Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has sat for nine years, not to renominate him.
Ok so its been made public that we have give people at ABK union authorization cards. I want to take a second to outline what that means and why we took this step.
— Valentine Powell 💙🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@valentine_irl) December 9, 2021