Activision Blizzard employees sign petition denouncing company ‘heinous’ response to lawsuit

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The petition, which aired Monday and viewed by CNN Business, criticized the company’s statements following a lawsuit filed last week by the California Department of Employment and Housing, which claimed several employees faced gender discrimination, sexual harassment and unequal pay.

Activision Blizzard, the publisher of extremely popular games such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” is headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., And has approximately 9,500 employees, according to the state file.

The company’s director of corporate communications Kelvin Liu called the state’s record and investigation “inaccurate” and “distorted” in a statement to CNN following the lawsuit. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday’s petition.

The company’s statements in response to the lawsuit “are odious and insulting to anything we think our company should stand for,” the petition says. “To put it plainly and unequivocally, our values ​​as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leaders.

The petition also cited an internal statement by Frances Townsend, former counterterrorism official in the George W. Bush administration and executive vice president for general affairs of Activision Blizzard, in which she would have described the trial claims as “factually incorrect, old and out of context”.

Petition calls for “official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and show compassion for victims of harassment and assault,” and for Townsend to step down as executive sponsor of the company’s network of women employees .

“We call on the leadership team to work with us on meaningful new efforts that ensure employees – as well as our community – have a safe place to speak out and come forward,” he added.

Townsend did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gaming companies respond to wave of sexual misconduct allegations
Several former employees have detailed their experiences at Activision Blizzard on social media since last week’s lawsuit, which accuses the company of fostering a “frat boy” work culture where female employees must “continue to fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances from their male colleagues.”

The complaint also alleges that “company executives and human resources staff were aware of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the unlawful conduct, and instead retaliated against the women who committed themselves. complaints “.

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