Activision Blizzard is currently facing serious ongoing allegations of harassment and mistreatment of marginalized workers. To learn more, please visit our timeline as well as our in-depth report on the subject.
On Monday, December 6, members of the Raven Software QA team announced it will hold a walkout to protest the layoffs of over a dozen QA contractors working on Call of Duty games like Vanguard and Warzone. The walkout has now garnered the support of the wider Activision Blizzard companies with walkouts from ABK employees in Texas, Minnesota, and California joining in.
According to the ABetterABK employee group, quality assurance testers in Texas, Minnesota, and Blizzard’s Irvine headquarters will join Raven Software employees in solidarity. Raven’s QA testers are demanding Activision Blizzard reinstate these contractors and convert them to full-time employees.
The walkout is a mix of real-life and virtual as employees at Raven’s Wisconsin headquarters posted a photo of them protesting outside the company. Meanwhile, Activision employees elsewhere are walking out virtually. On social media, supporters are sharing solidarity through the hashtag #WeAreRaven.
Activision Blizzard leadership meanwhile has pushed back on the term layoffs, instead, explaining that the company has chosen to not extend the contracts of “20 temporary workers.” Raven’s QA team says this is unacceptable given that Activision Blizzard also announced plans to turn 500 temporary workers into full-time employees, and that the contractors were terminated “in good standing,” meaning it was not a result of their performance at work.
Speaking to The Washington Post, a Raven QA tester says that it feels as though the people let go were chosen “at random” and that there’s a feeling of “survivor’s guilt” on the team. Some of those let go were known as top performers and team leads on Raven’s QA team.
When terminations occurred at Raven QA, employees were told that performance was not a reliant factor. This is perfectly portrayed by the work and dedication of the employees that were let go. Several were known top performers and even team leads on the Raven QA team. #WeAreRaven pic.twitter.com/l7IfBOQIdZ
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 8, 2021
This is the third walkout in 2021 at Activision Blizzard as the company continues to grapple with an ongoing sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit. The first was in July after the initial lawsuit from the state of California detailed widespread sexual harassment and toxic work culture at Blizzard.
A second walkout was initiated in November after the Wall Street Journal reported that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was personally aware of reports regarding sexual harassment and assault. Employees have called for Kotick to step down, but Activision’s board announced that they back Kotick remaining as CEO.
What’s clear is that the fallout from Activision Blizzard’s lawsuit is not going anywhere soon. Just today, attorney Lisa Bloom and a current Blizzard employee held a press conference directly outside Blizzard’s Irvine, California headquarters demanding compensation, a formal apology, and a victim’s fund to be handled by third-party advocacy groups.
IGN has a complete timeline of events regarding Activision Blizzard since the lawsuit was announced, which includes further details about the company culture and first-hand reports from employees.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.
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Author: Matt Kim