Activision Blizzard, a US-based video game holding firm, is reportedly under immense pressure after more than 2,000 of its former and current staff members signed a petition condemning the firm's ‘abhorrent and disrespectful’ reaction to the California lawsuit.
According to reports, the petition, which was circulated among the employees on Monday, criticized the statements the firm made in the aftermath of a litigation filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) last week. The lawsuit claimed that several female staff members were subjected to sexual harassment, unequal pay, and gender discrimination while working at the game developer.
According to the state filing, Activision Blizzard, publisher of famous games like ‘World of Warcraft’ and ‘Call of Duty’, is based out of Santa Monica, California, and employs roughly 9,500 people.
Through a media statement, Activision Blizzard’s corporate communications director, Kelvin Liu, blasted the state's lawsuit and investigation, labelling it as distorted and inaccurate.
Several employees, current and former, took offense to this statement, especially considering the company’s history with employee harassment, which is marred with accusations of inhuman work conditions and a toxic work culture.
According to the petition, the company's remarks in response to the lawsuit are abhorrent and disrespectful to everything that the employees believe their organization should stand for. The petition also added, to put it bluntly, and plainly, the employees' beliefs as workers are not adequately represented in the actions and words of the company's leadership.
The petition also included an internal statement provided by Frances Townsend, the executive vice president of corporate affairs at Activision Blizzard. In that statement, Townsend reportedly called the lawsuit's allegations as old, factually inaccurate, and out of context.
Some formal employees have described their experiences at the firm on social media since the lawsuit filed last week, which accuses Activision Blizzard of supporting a frat-boy work culture where female staff members have to constantly fend off unwelcome sexual advances and comments by their male colleagues.
According to the complaint, the company’s executives and HR personnel were aware of the constant harassment and failed to take necessary efforts to curb any unlawful behavior.