Following the explosive news that the state of California is suing Activision Blizzard over a “culture of constant sexual harassment”, employees fed up with the working conditions and direction the company has been taking have organized a company walkout, which is currently scheduled for 10am PST/1pm EST today.
In solidarity with these employees who are trying to effect change within the company, players of World of Warcraft have organized a walk-out of their own, within the city of Oribos in the game’s current Shadowlands expansion. Players will turn War Mode off, begin congregating near the portals in Oribos at 9am PST and log out at 10am, right as Activision Blizzard employees are leaving the building.
While it may seem like simply canceling their subscription would be a better answer, for many players that is not currently possible: World of Warcraft‘s $14.99 a month subscription fee can be lowered if players pay two, six, or even 12 months in advance, and Blizzard frequently offers in-game incentives such as unique mounts to subscribe for longer periods of time. So for many players stuck with a subscription for the next several months, joining Activision Blizzard’s employees appalled by the actions of the company in a virtual walkout is the next best thing.
Activision Blizzard stands accused of fostering an environment “akin to working in a frat house, which invariably involved male employees drinking and subjecting female employees to sexual harassment with no repercussion,” according to the lawsuit. So-called “cube crawls” would involve male employees drinking alcohol and sauntering around to female employees’ cubicles to harass and belittle them.
Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend responded to the disturbing allegations, saying it painted an “untrue picture” of the company’s culture. In response, more than 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees signed an open letter condemning the company’s response.
J. Allen Brack, the president of Blizzard, a division within Activision Blizzard, responded to the allegations as well in an email to staff, calling the news “extremely troubling”.
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack sent out an email to staff last night addressing the allegations from this week's explosive lawsuit, calling them "extremely troubling" and saying that he'd be "meeting with many of you to answer questions and discuss how we can move forward." pic.twitter.com/NsMV6CNdTE
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 23, 2021
If you’re a World of Warcraft player and would like to support Activision Blizzard employees by joining in on the walkout, be sure to log into Oribos around 9am PST with War Mode off. If you don’t play WoW, have already canceled your subscription, or would like to help in another way, Activision Blizzard employees have requested you show support with the hashtag #actiblizzwalkout on social media, and donate to the following charities:
- Black Girls Code (https://www.blackgirlscode.com)
- Futures without Violence – (https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org)
- Girls Who Code – (https://girlswhocode.com)
- RAINN – (https://www.rainn.org)
- Women in Animation – (https://womeninanimation.org)
- Women in Games International – (https://www.getwigi.com)
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