This week, a group of Activision Blizzard employees calling itself The ABK Worker’s Alliance has issued an open letter to CEO Bobby Kotick and the executive leadership team demanding improvements at the company. The group includes members from studios across the company, including Activision. Beenox, Blizzard, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Sledgehammer, Raven, and Vicarious Visions, and says it is “committed to defending our right to a safe and equitable workplace.”
“We communicated a list of four demands aimed at protecting our most vulnerable workers,” the letter says. “These are: (1) an end to forced arbitration in employment agreements, (2) the adoption of inclusive recruitment and hiring practices, (3) increases in pay transparency through compensation metrics, and (4) an audit of ABK policies and practices to be performed by a neutral third-party. Importantly, we demanded that this third party be selected by an employee-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force.”
The letter goes on to accuse Activision Blizzard leadership of failing to address those concerns – aside from the third-party audit of company policies, which was “ostensibly addressed by your decision to hire WilmerHale to conduct an internal review”.
The employees who penned the letter “reject the selection of WilmerHale”, saying that the firm’s “pre-existing relationships with Activision Blizzard and its executives create an unacceptable conflict of interest,” and that it “has a history of discouraging workers’ rights and collective action”.
You can read the letter in full over at IGN.
California’s state Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard in July following a two-year investigation of the company, alleging years of discrimination and harassment there. Activision Blizzard’s initial statement on the suit called it “irresponsible behaviour from unaccountable state bureaucrats that are driving many of the state’s best businesses out of California”. Bobby Kotick later called that initial response “tone deaf”. Since then, employees have staged a walkout and Blizzard president J Allen Brack has left the company.
After a largely silent handful of weeks, some Activision Blizzard social channels have returned to promoting upcoming games and content. The company’s second quarter financial results call will be held later today.