It seems that the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is holding true for Activision Blizzard, with the news of the strike announced in the gaming industry by the ABK Workers’ Alliance.
In a recent story, we discussed how Activision Blizzard was dropping the ball on handling the abuse scandal that has ravaged their public image. By appointing a Workplace Responsibility Committee, the company hoped to provide a public face for change in the workplace culture. However, with members of the board of directors serve on that committee, the same board that already knew about the toxicity of the workplace, and may have been responsible for that toxicity in the first place.
There isn’t one single party in this situation that has bought the line they’re throwing out — not the console companies, not the public, and certainly not the employees that have suffered at the hands of men like CEO Bobby Kotick and others.
The strike was announced on Thursday, December 9th, via the ABK Workers Alliance’s Twitter account. This came just one day after yet another case came to light regarding the rampant sexual abuse and discrimination that Activision Blizzard has become known for. In addition to the complainant, who is going by “Christine,” bringing forward her own experiences with harassment in the company, her case has also highlighted the fact that Activision Blizzard remains non-compliant with the consent decree from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In this decree, the company agreed to form a website to facilitate claims made as part of an $18 million settlement with the EEOC, and would do so within thirty days of the decree. They also agreed to hire a claims administrator for the site. To date, there is no evidence that the company has done either one of these things to comply with the decree.
ABK is a group formed by employees of Activision Blizzard to not only further their efforts to create lasting change in their own company, but to support employees of other companies with similar toxic work environments. Alongside the strike, ABK has organized a strike fund that supporters of their cause can contribute to in order to support their efforts. Their goal is to raise $1 million with this GoFundMe, and as of this writing are nearly one quarter of the way towards reaching it.
In June 2020, an article was published which highlighted the abuse, harassment and discrimination that occurred within Activision-Blizzard’s offices. Since then, Activision-Blizzard leaders have continually abused, union-busted, and remained apathetic to the wishes of workers,” wrote ABK on GoFundMe.
“In the months since, we’ve seen CEO Bobby Kotick and the Board of Directors protect abusers and only hold perpetrators accountable after the events were brought to light by outside media. We’ve seen Activision hire law firm WilmerHale, known for union busting, to disrupt and impede the improvement efforts of Activision-Blizzard workers.
“We’ve seen Raven Software workers lured by the promise of promotion, only to be terminated shortly after relocation on top of the already underappreciated and severely underpaid working conditions of ABK workers across the company.
“These, and many other events have caused an alliance of Activision-Blizzard employees to initiate a work stoppage until demands are met and worker representation is finally given a place within the company.
The GoFundMe page itself is a well put together statement of the strike’s goals, as well as the actions that workers have taken to date, and a timeline of the entire scandal overall. Little more can be said to further impress upon the reader the necessity of fulfilling the demands of workers at this point, which, I may add yet again, are disgustingly simple: get rid of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and his ilk, else the noxiously broken system that is Activision Blizzard will never find a means to repair itself. The next time they drop the ball, there’s no telling whose head it may fall on, or how badly they could get hurt.
Liz Carlie (she/her/he/him) is a regular book, TV, and film reviewer for SCIFI.radio and has previously been a guest on ‘The Event Horizon’. In addition to being an active member of the traditional fandom community, she’s also an active participant in online fan culture, pro wrestling journalism, and spreading the gospel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She resides in Southern California with her aspiring superhero dog, Junior, enjoying life one hyperfixation at a time.