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Icy Veins Podcast #39

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    • By Stan
      About the Lawsuit
      Last week, The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard over "frat boy" culture. The lawsuit was filed after a two-year investigation by the state agency, according to Bloomberg.
      Since then, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack sent an internal email to Blizzard employees. The former CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Mike Morhaime later also came forward with his own statement.
      More than 1,000 current and former Blizzard employees signed an open letter, condemning the company's responses, and sent it to multiple publications.
      The World of Warcraft team released a statement yesterday and promised to remove references that are not appropriate to be removed from the game soon.
      Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick also issued a statement, where he called the company's initial responses to the lawsuit and employee concerns "tone-deaf." You can read the full statement here.
      Activision Blizzard employees have now responded to Bobby Kotick's statement via IGN and are organizing a walkout protest today.
      Here is their response:
      Activision Blizzard Employees' Response to Bobby Kotick's Statement
      On the evening before our employee walkout, Activision Blizzard leadership released a statement apologizing for their harmful responses to last week's DFEH lawsuit. While we are pleased to see that our collective voices -- including an open letter with thousands of signatures from current employees -- have convinced leadership to change the tone of their communications, this response fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns.
      Activision Blizzard's response did not address the following:
      - The end of forced arbitration for all employees.
      - Worker participation in oversight of hiring and promotion policies.
      - The need for greater pay transparency and to ensure equality.
      - Employee selection of a third party to audit HR and other company processes.
      Today's walkout will demonstrate that this is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore. We will not return to silence; we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.
      This is the beginning of an enduring movement in favor of better labor conditions for all employees, especially women, in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.
      We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership on the points enumerated above and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees.
      Today, we stand up for a chance. Tomorrow and beyond, we will be the change.
      Source: IGN, Reddit
    • By Staff
      Earlier today Activision Blizzard staff held a walkout protest related to the recent sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit and their treatment at the company, and many more than were expected showed up.
      While organizers were expecting around 100 employees, there were actually hundreds that arrived outside Blizzard's campus in Irvine, including many non-staff members that just came to support the cause. A note on the below group picture:
      The protest was supported by many more who couldn't make it in person, using the #ActiBlizzWalkout (and most commonly also with a blue heart ? emoji), including current and former Blizzard employees:
      You can also find statements from the employees, including a rebuttal to the most recent response from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick here:

      And here are some more tweets from the protest:
    • By Starym
      Many Activision Blizzard employees have decided to stage a walkout protest in response to the statements made by the company's legal counsel and the latter internal statement by Frances Townsend. The walkout is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday July 28th, and follows an open letter responding to the above statements, which has now been signed by over 2500 employees, and aims to get Activision Blizzard executives to work with the staff on improving working conditions:

      There were also details of the walkout itself sent to Wowhead:
      Walkout Details
      The walkout will take place on Wednesday, July 28th. From 10 AM-2 PM, we’ll meet in front of the main gate of the Blizzard Campus. We will not enter the Blizzard Campus due to the current COVID health and security measures. Parking should be restricted to the open parking lot in the building 5 and 6 area (Laguna Canyon Road) as there is no gate to access it.
      Employees unable to meet in person may lend their voice to the walkout by stopping work and by sharing their participation on social media with the #ActiBlizzWalkout hashtag. If you belong to a different studio, please feel free to customize the hashtag: #(YourStudio)Walkout.
      Many Blizzard employees have since tweeted that they will be attending, and those that can't are encouraged to use #ActiBlizzWalkout  .
      There are also charities you can support to show solidarity with the protest:
    • By Starym
      Blizzard will be offering paid time off during the walkout protest on Wednesday, July 28th. This comes from Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, a veteran games journalist with many sources in the industry, who has been covering the Activision Blizzard lawsuit since it was first reported.
      You can read the full walkout statement and demands here, and the open letter signed by over 2500 Activision Blizzard employees here.
    • By Starym
      An open letter criticizing the company's responses and statements in relation to the lawsuit has been sent to several publications, including Bloomberg (who initially reported on the lawsuit) and Polygon, signed by over 1000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees. 
      The letter mentions the "abhorrent and insulting" statements from AB legal counsel and Frances Townsend and that said responses have "damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry". Read the full statement below:
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