Using the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout on Twitter, employees at the Irvine-based Activision Blizzard Entertainment are planning a walkout on Wednesday, July 28.
The news of the walkout in Irvine came Tuesday, July 27, as dozens of Blizzard employees began tweeting out the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout, with a blue heart emoji, in response to the recent workplace abuse allegations the company is currently battling in court.
Blizzard has not responded to a request for comment at the time of this reporting.
The walkout, first confirmed by the Washington Post, and later by the walkout’s organizers, came through an internal email, and included a list of demands for workplace equality, focusing on the LGBTQ community, according to the gaming website Wowhead.
“As current Activision Blizzard employees, we are holding a walkout to call on the executive leadership team to work with us on the following demands, in order to improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.
- An end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, current and future. Arbitration clauses protect abusers and limit the ability of victims to seek restitution.
- The adoption of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies designed to improve representation among employees at all levels, agreed upon by employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion organization. Current practices have led to women, in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups that are vulnerable to gender discrimination not being hired fairly for new roles when compared to men.
- Publication of data on relative compensation (including equity grants and profit sharing), promotion rates, and salary ranges for employees of all genders and ethnicities at the company. Current practices have led to aforementioned groups not being paid or promoted fairly.
- Empower a company-wide Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion task force to hire a third party to audit ABK’s reporting structure, HR department, and executive staff. It is imperative to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment, and to propose new solutions to address these issues.”
In documents provided by the organizers of Blizzard’s Wednesday walkout to Irvine Weekly, Blizzard employees are also encouraging community support through donation, and have referenced a half dozen charities, which include Black girls Code, Futures without Violence, Girls who Code, RAINN, Women In Animation, and Woman Games International.
Blizzard’s walkout organizers confirmed that the walkout will begin on Wednesday, July 28, at 10:00 a.m. and will go until 2:00 p.m, it will be held at Blizzard Entertainment’s Irvine-based offices. Blizzard employees have tweeted that they will be joining in support virtually.
Paul Lawrence Henderson, who lists Contract QA at Blizzard in his Twitter bio, tweeted in support of the walkout on Tuesday.
I plan on virtually participating in this walkout tomorrow, in support and solidarity of my friends and coworkers who have suffered abuse during their time at Blizzard. #ActiBlizzWalkout https://t.co/dW11xBNo0C
— Paul Henderson (@paulsworkintwit) July 27, 2021
Since then, several current and former Blizzard employees have been quick to vocalize their support of Wednesday’s walkout in Irvine.
We're walking out tomorrow to demand changes which will protect and promote women and other marginalized devs.
We are fighting for Blizzard, because we know it can be better.https://t.co/HxqB9J5lbp
— An Internet Goblin (@cydereal) July 27, 2021
Some employees, like current Blizzard software engineer Nora Valletta, used Twitter to finally shed light on the internal fear she has been dealing with as a result of the atmosphere created within the video game publisher’s workplace.
I’m afraid that stepping forward will cast a permanent shadow on my accomplishments and harm my career. However, this issue — the issue of fair treatment in the workplace — has already cast a shadow on my accomplishments. It has already harmed my career. (2/4)
— Nora Valletta 💙 (@NoraValletta) July 27, 2021
— Nora Valletta 💙 (@NoraValletta) July 27, 2021
Some former Blizzard employees say little has changed over the years.
As a former Blizzard software engineer, I endured and witnessed sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination in a toxic work environment. HR was not safe for victims.
That was 5 years ago. It's still Blizzard culture.
— Cher Scarlett 💙 #ActiBlizzWalkout (@cherthedev) July 27, 2021
The news of a walkout comes after more than 2,500 Blizzard employees have signed an open letter denouncing the actions of Activision Blizzard leadership after the company was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing due to company-wide allegations of inappropriate workplace culture.
This is a developing story.