Suppose there is one thing I’ve always stood by as a consumer, be it electronics or toilet paper. In that case, it’s this- never blindly support a company just because they produce something you enjoy. On the one hand, it’s all business. Companies exist to collect your money and turn a profit. But, on the other hand, one can never be too sure what’s going on behind the scenes, especially in the days before a product finds its way onto a shelf or storefront. The current situation with Activision Blizzard is a firm reminder of this.
Last week, a California state agency filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit states allegations of sexual harassment in its work environment. Specifically, “that African American women and other women of color were particularly impacted by Activision Blizzard’s discriminatory practices.” Also adding among other unfair and unethical practices.
The suit also alleges that the “frat house” culture was a significant factor in the suicide of one former employee—the person whose nude photograph was allegedly shared at a holiday party.
Following this, former employees have come forth to share their experiences, giving weight to the claims outlined in the lawsuit. For example, ex software engineer Cher Scarlett has told Yahoo Finance that “…it was as bad as described in the documents then” during her time at the company from 2015 to 2016. Scarlett has also taken to Twitter. She’s inviting those who observed or experienced harassment while working at Activision Blizzard to get in touch if they’d like to become a witness.
While Activision Blizzard has made a statement following these events, neither the internet nor the company’s employees are satisfied with the response. A petition has surfaced at the time of writing denouncing Activision Blizzard’s response as “abhorrent and insulting.” In addition, many individuals are also opting to boycott the company itself, with #BoycottActivision seeing numerous posts per hour.
Because of these findings and stock prices beginning to fall Kotaku reports that stockholders are now suing the company as part of a secondary lawsuit. Quickly, heads began to roll from the leadership as axe hammers were summoned swiftly upon them.
I genuinely hope justice gets served and that more people will think before putting their favorite companies on a pedestal. But, unfortunately, cruelty can always be right around the corner, even from the company founded on the belief that designers should get due credit for their work.