Activision Blizzard Staff Stage Walkout Over Gender Inequality
Just when you think the shamed Activision Blizzard is out of the woods, along comes a new week and a new drama. In the aftermath of the Cosby Suite allegations and worrying reports of a "frat boy culture" sending shockwaves through the publisher, Activision Blizzard has come out of things largely unscathed - thanks mainly to Microsoft swooping in to buy it.
At the top, the divisive Bobby Kotick remains CEO, while the board asked shareholders to vote against an annual report on harassment. Although it seems those at the top are trying to bury the company's troubled past, employees at large as calling for Activision Blizzard to answer to its action. Now, staff are trying to stage a walkout over new developments.
Why Is Activision Blizzard Staff Staging A Walkout?
Posting on Twitter, works group ABetterABK confirmed plans to protest against "recent attacks on the civil liberties of [its] employees". The staff walkout is to protect the liberties of women and the LGBTQ+ community in particular. The tweet continues, "We are calling for protection of several communities of marginalised workers. Employees are actively facing state legislation that is putting women, LGBTQ+ employees, and their families at risk, with other vulnerable groups on the horizon."
There is also a mention of the recent overturn of Roe vs. Wade - which has become a major point of contention in the video game industry. ABetterABK added that current healthcare options at Activision Blizzard "do not adequately protect" its staff. "The presently offered $4000 reimbursements for out of state medical care currently leave employees open to legal prosecution in their home state," says the group. "Travel reimbursements do not remove workers from imminent danger."
In terms of what the group wants, the demands include access for "safely, affordably, and legally maintain access to life-saving procedures like abortions and trans-affirming healthcare." There's also hope for staff to work remotely from a place where they can access the healthcare they require and are safe from discrimination from anti-LGBTQ+ views. There's no word on how many staff members will be taking part, but the walkout is planned for July 21.
Will The Activision Blizzard Walkout Go Ahead?
Sadly, we don't imagine this will make much of an impact on how Activision Blizzard handles things. Previously ABK helped Call of Duty: Warzone devs Raven Software hold a walkout over a series of staff layoffs. There have been rumblings after shareholders voted to keep Kotick as CEO, but for the time being, Activision Blizzard is keeping a shaky hold on things.
Returning to Roe vs. Wade, Sony had to donate $50k to an abortion rights group when Jim Ryan dodged the issue of abortion and randomly started talking about his cats. Elsewhere, staff at EA threatened a walkout when the publisher refused to make a statement during Pride Month. Unfortunately, walkouts have little impact on companies as large as this. If Activision Blizzard was in a kind mood, it would bow to these demands, but somehow, something tells us this won't be the case.