Activision Blizzard staff to walk out amid harassment allegations

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Activision Blizzard employees are staging a walkout following the company's initial response to a recent lawsuit.

The company was hit with a lawsuit from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which claimed that the game studio was rife with "harassment and discrimination" against women.

The initial response from Activision was to criticise the lawsuit, with executive Fran Townsend calling it "distorted and untrue" in an internal letter (via The Washington Post).

Photo credit: Activision
Photo credit: Activision

That led employees to organise a walkout that will take place today (July 28), while fans have been asked not to play games from the publisher throughout the day, as well. An open letter from the employees has also called for Townsend's firing and outlined features a list of demands they want to see fulfilled (via Eurogamer).

The demands include an end to arbitration clauses in contracts, allowing victims of abuse to come forward, improved diversity when it comes to hiring, publication of salary data for different groups within the company, to shine a light on unequal pay, and the creation of a "Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion task force".

Following the announcement of the walkout, Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick apologised for the "tone deaf" first response. He stated that the company will investigate every claim and terminating managers who had behaved inappropriately, implement "listening sessions", and "adding compliance resources" for hiring managers. A law firm will also review the company's policies.

Photo credit: Blizzard
Photo credit: Blizzard

Kotick also stated that in-game content will also be changed, with the World of Warcraft's Twitter stating that changes will be implemented over the coming days.

Activision Blizzard, who also publishes Call of Duty and Overwatch, has faced huge criticism for laying off staff while paying CEO Kotick millions in bonuses.

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