Activision Blizzard case: the company's social media has been silent for days

Activision Blizzard case: the company's social media has been silent for days

Activision Blizzard case

The social accounts linked to Activision Blizzard have been silent for days, since the news of the cause for maltreatment and discrimination of workers arrived. It is certainly a precise choice, dictated by the internal debate. Exposing yourself publicly at this time, before you have clarified the situation and shown the willingness to change, could prove to be counterproductive for the company, producing further damage. The risk is to be accused of taking the situation lightly.

The Twitter and Facebook accounts that have remained silent are many and involve very famous games: that of the Call of Duty series, that of the Crash Bandicoot series, that of the Diablo series, the Overwatch series and the World of Warcraft series, just to name a few.

The accounts of Infinity Ward, King, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch, some of the largest development studios owned by the company, are also silent.

Hard to say when the accounts will return to post and to update the players on the news coming in the various titles. However you think about it, it is another of the many effects that the cause is producing, such as a boycott by some videogame newspapers and or a protest sit-in in World of Warcraft.

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Activision Blizzard Employees Are Unhappy With The Corporate Response To The Harassment Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14: General view of atmosphere at the Activision E3 preview held at Staples ... [+] Center on June 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Activision)


A rift is widening between many employees at Activision Blizzard and those in charge of the corporation, who have issued a wide range of statements regarding a lawsuit by the state of California alleging mistreatment of women within the company.

There have been a series of these statements, both issued externally and to Activision Blizzard employees themselves. The original statement published alongside the Bloomberg story on the lawsuit spent a large amount of time laying into the conduct of the investigators, whom the company called “state bureaucrats”:

“The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court.”

That was followed up by internal emails to staff, including one from Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, who is personally named in the lawsuit:

Many point out the weirdness of Brack saying that feminist Gloria Steinem was a “revered saint in the Brack household,” along with other statements that seem to dispute the original pushback on the lawsuit.

After that, Activision CCO Fran Townsend, a former Homeland Security advisor to the Bush administration, issued another statement that very much doubled down on initial defenses of the culture at the company:

While Townsend speaks to her positive experiences as a woman in management, many highlight the fact that she’s only been with the company for seven months.

That last statement reportedly set off a number of employees. A source close to those working at Activision Blizzard relayed the following to me after that last email was sent out:

'Everyone is just crying and angry, especially as leadership keeps trying to minimize them and their feelings and gaslight what they remember.'

Some Activision Blizzard employees are speaking publicly about their displeasure with the company, and there was even a partial work stoppage on the WoW team yesterday:

Others specifically name not just the accusations, but the corporate response as being poor:

Many, many others do not want to speak publicly about the issue for fear of the type of retaliation that Activision Blizzard claims does not exist within the company.

What seems to be happening is that corporate is issuing public statements denying many of these problems exist while simultaneously highlighting things the company does to mitigate these problems. Given that this is not just a complaint, but an actual lawsuit, there’s no doubt some level of “refusing to admit guilt” here that could be used in the case. A true apology would be an admission, and so here we are, with a wide gap between what the executives are saying and what the workers are feeling.

This is an unfurling mess that is only going to get more complicated as time goes on. We’ll see who speaks out next, more employees or another corporate executive.

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