Activision-Blizzard fields new accusations as workers strike, fundraise, and issue union cards


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:

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial company in the MMO and gaming space owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In the summer of 2021, the company was sued by the state of California for fostering a work environment riddled with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which has further compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. As of fall 2021, multiple state and federal agencies are currently investigating the company and the industry has called for Bobby Kotick’s resignation following fresh reports on his misdeeds.
Just as this article was posted, Activision-Blizzard workers announced a strike. Workers are also fundraising to offset wages lost from the strike and assist in relocation efforts for the Raven QA workers who were abruptly laid off last week after relocating on their own dime to work at Activision-Blizzard.

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.

Blizzard’s Valentine Powell has a great thread up explaining the next steps for the unionization effort.

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