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A Look at the Activision Blizzard Walkout Protest

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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:

Quote

Important note: this is *not* the entirety of the crowd, only those who consented to being in the picture at the time it was taken. There were many more in total. - Josh "Lore" Allen

 

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:

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Something tells me this won't persuade execs to fix the situation. It will end up in either firing of all these employees or making their work environment even worse.

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14 minutes ago, Steveson said:

Something tells me this won't persuade execs to fix the situation. It will end up in either firing of all these employees or making their work environment even worse.

Considering that your location is true you edited in your profile, Russia is not the best example to take for such things. (no offense to you personally!). Many other regions show, that standing up as employees changes things and so i am very sure that this will change something (even in the USA 😄 )

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5 minutes ago, Baharok said:

Considering that your location is true you edited in your profile, Russia is not the best example to take for such things. (no offense to you personally!). Many other regions show, that standing up as employees changes things and so i am very sure that this will change something (even in the USA 😄 )

1) Yes. It is indeed true. I am russian.
2) You should take into consideration the fact that this is ACTIVISION we are talking about. This company like EA is infamous for having lawsuits thrown at it constantly and nothing ever changing after them. It's like they just don't give a damn at this point. Kotick's response only proves that.

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3 hours ago, Steveson said:

1) Yes. It is indeed true. I am russian.
2) You should take into consideration the fact that this is ACTIVISION we are talking about. This company like EA is infamous for having lawsuits thrown at it constantly and nothing ever changing after them. It's like they just don't give a damn at this point. Kotick's response only proves that.

This. Bobby has been running Blizzard into the ground since day one. Does anybody here really think he has any real incentive to try and save it now?

Hell, he owns the company that makes Candy Crush Saga. Do you have any idea how much more money than mainline Activision and Blizzard combined that makes for him every year? He absolutely CAN fire every single person who walks out today and not even feel a dent on his bottom line. Even if it did end up with him shuttering Blizzard and just using the badge as a brand marque to sell rememberberry phone games.

Remember Dungeon Keeper? Remember Command and Conquer? *filtered*, they ALREADY MADE A DIABLO MOBILE GAME. What's next? A Warcraft Clash of Clans clone?

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32 minutes ago, Apologised said:

Even if it did end up with him shuttering Blizzard and just using the badge as a brand marque to sell rememberberry phone games.

Well i doubt that they would shut Blizzard down because of this situation but they may just fire all the old vocal employees and replace them with new ones with no backbone.
Like all corporations do. Yes - INCLUDING in USA.

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Quote

 

I stand in virtual solidarity with those in the #ActiBlizzWalkout. I promise to be part of the change. ?

— Mike Morhaime (@mikemorhaime) July 28, 2021

 

...Confirmation Dreamhaven is buying back Blizzard Entertainment?
 
Comeon, I can dream v_v

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6 minutes ago, Migol said:

 

...Confirmation Dreamhaven is buying back Blizzard Entertainment?
 
Comeon, I can dream v_v

Mike has come out of this no more innocent than the rest. Since the investigation started a couple of years ago, it makes me wonder if that's not one reason he ran off.

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57 minutes ago, solitha said:

Mike has come out of this no more innocent than the rest. Since the investigation started a couple of years ago, it makes me wonder if that's not one reason he ran off.

Morhaime's been gone for over 4 years, and he was not the guy in charge before that.    The "Rot" has really sunk in as activision took over in the last half decade or so.    There've been all kinds of stories and documented acts in that timeframe, how the accounting people are taking over, how many of the CMs/customer service/etc have been layed off several times (and then new, lower wage people have been hired as necessary), etc etc.    

Not saying Morhaime is necessarily blameless or anything, but I'm a great deal more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt than a guy like Kotick who only makes statements when the initial quote backfires and the stock prices start lowering.

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1 hour ago, solitha said:

Mike has come out of this no more innocent than the rest. Since the investigation started a couple of years ago, it makes me wonder if that's not one reason he ran off.

Yeah, I'm not sure about Mike either. If all of information presented is true, he might have ignored several reported instances of abuse.

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5 hours ago, Steveson said:

Yes - INCLUDING in USA.

If thats a reference to my comment before - then you did missunderstand it. My comment with "even in the USA" was a criticism part to their system. I do not live there, but heard enough from people which went there to work there / live there, when they left Europe. Ever thought about why Amazon allways has trouble to fully establish their behaviour from the states within Germany for example? (That does not mean its a perfect system either btw) 🙂

Edited by Baharok

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3 hours ago, Migol said:

Morhaime's been gone for over 4 years, and he was not the guy in charge before that.    The "Rot" has really sunk in as activision took over in the last half decade or so.    There've been all kinds of stories and documented acts in that timeframe, how the accounting people are taking over, how many of the CMs/customer service/etc have been layed off several times (and then new, lower wage people have been hired as necessary), etc etc.    

Not saying Morhaime is necessarily blameless or anything, but I'm a great deal more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt than a guy like Kotick who only makes statements when the initial quote backfires and the stock prices start lowering.

The harassment issues have nothing to do with Activision though. Most of the central figures in this issue are people who have been with Blizzard for a long time and there cases of significant harassment dating back a decade.

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Reminds me of my experience with my previous work, but hopefully will have different results. I used to be a manager at my previous job where I worked since the day they opened for 5 years. After a while the 2 owners runnning it started making terrible decisions and had a few awful actions. An example is how we had a huge mouse problem in the bar and I kept insisting we had to take action, but the owners didn't want to throw away money for a mouse problem and waved it away as 'It's an old building so you can expect there to be mice.'. Or how people couldn't call themselves in sick because we had no spare staff (the owners didn't allow me to hire more people) so the owners expected people to come to work sick. We had a lot more of these kind of problems with the owners. After a while I found out that one of the owners, who is 38 years old and with a family, was inappropriatly messaging multiple female staffmembers through Facebook (so he could keep the chat hidden). That being the last straw I confronted them with everything going on and screenshots of the chat. We had a huge talk and in the end they simply laughed at it and told me it 'was just some fun' and that it was none of my business. At that point I immediatly turned in my resignation and told them I no longer had any desire or pride in working for them. I rather put myself in the position of stress for finding a new job quickly than stay and work for them any longer. I told the team everything about it and that month me and 80% of the crew quit our jobs. The result: 2 months later they were fully running their business again with a newly hired crew like nothing ever happened.

It was a MUCH smaller business than Blizzard obviously, but it did show me that people like that don't care as long as they're still getting their money. Anyone can be replaced.

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10 hours ago, Migol said:

Morhaime's been gone for over 4 years, and he was not the guy in charge before that.    The "Rot" has really sunk in as activision took over in the last half decade or so.    There've been all kinds of stories and documented acts in that timeframe, how the accounting people are taking over, how many of the CMs/customer service/etc have been layed off several times (and then new, lower wage people have been hired as necessary), etc etc.    

Not saying Morhaime is necessarily blameless or anything, but I'm a great deal more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt than a guy like Kotick who only makes statements when the initial quote backfires and the stock prices start lowering.

He was the president, so it's weird to say he wasn't in charge. You've mentioned customer support layoffs. It's being largely automated across the industry, so doesn't seem like there were many replacements for those people. How much did Morhaime knew, we can't say for certain. However, it would sound like a huge stretch to assume he didn't know anything, as it was reported that some cases were brought up to him.

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On 7/29/2021 at 8:17 PM, Arcling said:

He was the president, so it's weird to say he wasn't in charge. You've mentioned customer support layoffs. It's being largely automated across the industry, so doesn't seem like there were many replacements for those people. How much did Morhaime knew, we can't say for certain. However, it would sound like a huge stretch to assume he didn't know anything, as it was reported that some cases were brought up to him.

President of a company owned by another and being invaded by the culture and personel of one of their other holdings.    Again, if you've followed Blizzard over the years there's a CLEAR departure from the values of a decade ago, when they released games after taking time to polish them to a ridiculous level, had a bevy of in game GMS who responded to players in a reasonable timeframe without automation, when the content wasn't filtered off to books and other material outside game, etc etc.      All of that has steadily been eroded away.    I have no idea how much harrassment or frat boy behavior went on in "old blizzard".    Again, just saying I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, because every other sucky aspect of modern Blizzard has come as the old Blizzard was pushed out.

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13 minutes ago, Migol said:

President of a company owned by another and being invaded by the culture and personel of one of their other holdings.    Again, if you've followed Blizzard over the years there's a CLEAR departure from the values of a decade ago, when they released games after taking time to polish them to a ridiculous level, had a bevy of in game GMS who responded to players in a reasonable timeframe without automation, when the content wasn't filtered off to books and other material outside game, etc etc.      All of that has steadily been eroded away.    I have no idea how much harrassment or frat boy behavior went on in "old blizzard".    Again, just saying I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, because every other sucky aspect of modern Blizzard has come as the old Blizzard was pushed out.

Afaik, this isn't exactly how it works. Morhaime was still making decisions about how to run the company. Activision Blizzard is a holding, their parent company (which came to be when Activision and Vivendi Games merged, their previous parent company), they don't make direct decisions about their operations. Besides, as it was reported, that "culture" was a problem even before that merged happened. So it doesn't seem as if "old guard" was perfectly clean. Not to say everyone was bad, but at the same time I wouldn't take everything at face value. Perhaps eventually more info will emerge, if this case won't be forgotten by the media. It kind of already feels as if both players and news outlets are moving on from it, after all these controversies rarely last long.

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On 7/29/2021 at 7:47 AM, Migol said:

Morhaime's been gone for over 4 years, and he was not the guy in charge before that.    The "Rot" has really sunk in as activision took over in the last half decade or so.    There've been all kinds of stories and documented acts in that timeframe, how the accounting people are taking over, how many of the CMs/customer service/etc have been layed off several times (and then new, lower wage people have been hired as necessary), etc etc.    

Not saying Morhaime is necessarily blameless or anything, but I'm a great deal more likely to give him the benefit of the doubt than a guy like Kotick who only makes statements when the initial quote backfires and the stock prices start lowering.

Mike stepped down less than 3 years ago (Oct 2018) and stayed on as an advisor for half a year longer.

Corporate structure isn't quite how you imagine it to be. Activision employees didn't start moving into Blizz offices and taking over their jobs or anything like that. Yes, there were probably financial pressures, and I can't say I like how that has effected Blizzard, but the personnel and culture are wholly Blizzard's. Alex wasn't ABK's problem. He was Blizzard's.

Mike's statement was directly and angrily rebutted by current and former Blizz employees. People who were there, as observer or victim, say that Mike knew about the toxic culture and did not stop it. As president and CEO he had that power, and that responsibility. And even he's not saying that "I knew, but ABK kept me from stopping it." He acknowledges the responsibility he had.

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