Kairos & UltraViolet Issue Statement in Solidarity With Activision Blizzard Workers After Employee Walkout, Company President Stepping Down

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Anna Zuccaro | anna@unbendablemedia.com

Kairos & UltraViolet Issue Statement in Solidarity With Activision Blizzard Workers After Employee Walkout, Company President Stepping Down

Earlier today, Activision Blizzard — one of the largest gaming companies in the world — announced that J. Allen Brack is stepping down as President after an employee walkout on July 28th protesting sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the company.¹

Activision Blizzard, creator of popular games such as “Call of Duty,” and “World of Warcraft,” is being sued by the state of California for pervasive sexism and discrimination. The lawsuit alleges “pervasive ‘frat boy’ culture,” at the Santa Monica business which has over 9,500 employees. The state’s two-year investigation found that Activision Blizzard “consistently discriminated against women, who make up about 20 percent of its workforce.”²

Company organizers staged the walkout to amplify demands that Activision Blizzard “improve conditions for employees at the company, especially women, and in particular women of color and transgender women, non-binary people and other marginalized groups.”³

Specific demands are to 1) end mandatory arbitration clauses in employee contracts; 2) adopt recruiting, hiring, and promotion policies designed to improve representation among employees at all levels – agreed upon by employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion internal organization; 3) publish compensation data, promotion rates and salary ranges for employees of all genders and ethnicities; and 4) hire a third party to audit the company’s structure, human resources department and executives.

In response to the news, the organizations Kairos and UltraViolet expressed solidarity with the hundreds of employees at Activision Blizzard.

“Kudos to the organizers, women, trans, and non-binary workers at Activision who are standing up to rampant sexism in their workplace,” said Mariana Ruiz Firmat, Executive Director of Kairos. “We have your back, and look forward to your next moves to help transform gaming and tech corporate culture to a place of respect for everyone.”

“Sexism and gender discrimination in gaming is nothing new, but when hundreds of workers walk out on a company as influential as Activision Blizzard to protest rampant sexism, sexual harassment, and discrimination, it’s clear that a culture shift is underway,” said Bridget Todd, Communications Director at UltraViolet. “Holding companies accountable for how they treat women, LGTBQ+, nonbinary, and BIPOC employees is about more than just making corrections. This is about setting new expectations, where employees and consumers alike refuse to let notoriously sexist industries impede their own progress. UltraViolet unequivocally stands with the workers at Activision Blizzard who boldly and bravely refused to tolerate rampant sexism, misogyny, and racism at their workplace.”

The widely-covered employee walkout featured signatures of support, with over 3,000 employees and former employees, expressing to Activision Blizzard and entire gaming industry that “frat boy” culture will not be tolerated.¹

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Blizzard president J. Allen Brack is out after sexual harassment suit, employee walkout,” The Verge, August 3, 2021
Activision Blizzard workers walk out after sexual harassment lawsuit,” NBC News, July 28, 2021.
Activision Blizzard employees walk out over harassment and ‘frat boy’ culture,” The Guardian, July 28, 2021.