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Activision-Blizzard riddled with sex creeps


Harsin
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It would have been nice if Ubisoft was a freak anomaly among big publishers. We already knew that Activision-Blizzard was a crunch nightmare of a company where your reward for hard work in getting a hugely profitable product out on time would be getting laid off while they pay bigger and bigger bonuses to their executives. But they're also giving Ubisoft a run for their money in the institutionalised sexual harassment stakes, to the extent that the state of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

 

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/activision-blizzard-sued-by-california-over-frat-boy-culture

 

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According to the complaint, filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, female employees make up around 20% of the Activision workforce, and are subjected to a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture,” including “cube crawls,” in which male employees “drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.”

 

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Female employees working for the World of Warcraft team noted that male employees and supervisors would hit on them, make derogatory comments about rape, and otherwise engage in demeaning behavior, the agency alleges.

 

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The suit also points to a female Activision employee who took her own life while on a company trip with her male supervisor. The employee had been subjected to intense sexual harassment prior to her death, including having nude photos passed around at a company holiday party, the complaint says.


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If I were a venture capitalist right now I'd be swooping in and headhunting all the women in Activision because from the sound of it they're the only ones doing any work.

 

This feels a little like the old story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, they're going to be a lot of gamers who will try to remain ignorant of what's happening. There are those that will shrug their shoulders and play on regardless seeing the harassment of women (to the point of someone killing themselves) as part of the sacrifice required to make great art product.

 

On the Activision side it's going to be easy for my household to stop buying their product. I don't play Call of Duty. Neither does my partner. Both of us continuing to not play Call of Duty makes not a single jot of difference.

 

However my partner is a massive Blizzard fan. The Diablo 2 Remaster and Diablo 4 were going to be day one purchases for her. We'd probably do what we did with Diablo 3 and convince at least a couple of friends to buy in as well to play.

 

Not happening now. The cost is too high. My partner was also telling me that a load of her friends who play Overwatch are thinking of moving away from the game and finding a non Acti-Blizzard game to play instead. Realistically I reckon most will stay but they're going to bleed a few customers from this who won't come back.

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1 hour ago, Isaac said:

 

 

'Bill Crosby'? Some proper Merseyside Reds energy there...

 

More seriously, these reports are horrific. All of it sounds just as bad as the Ubisoft stuff, and the reports of what may have led to a female employee's suicide are beyond disgusting. Unfortunately I think we have to face the fact that what has often been seen as a male-dominated hobby has inevitably led to a certain type of culture in many development studios. There aren't enough women in the industry and we need root and branch reform - instead, apparently all that Ubisoft's employees had to do was watch a bad inclusivity video. Job done!

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Christ. They were already on my no-buy list for the more publicly visible problems with their working culture, but reading those accounts makes me feel sick. Just horrendous stuff.

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Yep, another publisher into the bin alongside Ubisoft for me. Those reports are horrendous.

 

You'd think these giant megapublishers would be super corporate by now, with strict behaviour guidelines and stuff. Instead they seem to be riddled with arseholes who never grow up.

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This is awful and exhausting and just so depressing and I’m not even a woman who works in games. I can’t even imagine what it’s like trying to navigate a career and a life and a psyche around an industry that’s full of all this shit. Brutal. 
 

19 minutes ago, Hitcher said:


Not that it’s not important but this is a year old. Why are you bringing it up in here?

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1 hour ago, Eighthours said:

 

'Bill Crosby'? Some proper Merseyside Reds energy there...

 

More seriously, these reports are horrific. All of it sounds just as bad as the Ubisoft stuff, and the reports of what may have led to a female employee's suicide are beyond disgusting. Unfortunately I think we have to face the fact that what has often been seen as a male-dominated hobby has inevitably led to a certain type of culture in many development studios. There aren't enough women in the industry and we need root and branch reform - instead, apparently all that Ubisoft's employees had to do was watch a bad inclusivity video. Job done!

 

There being few women around in no way excuses any of the behaviour seen or the inaction taken in response to it.  The certain type of culture you describe is, or should be, unacceptable everywhere full-stop. 

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23 minutes ago, moosegrinder said:

 

That's Diablo IV binned for me then. Not only are they fobbing the accusations off they're pulling a right wing bullshit excuse out of their arses. Fuck these people.

Seems the second tweek has been pulled? 

 

Edit: No it hasn't. 

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No, it's very much still there - you can see it on Schreier's account, plus if it were deleted it would disappear from Moosegrinder's post; that's a live view of the tweets, not a screenshot.

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2 hours ago, Mogster said:

You'd think these giant megapublishers would be super corporate by now, with strict behaviour guidelines and stuff. Instead they seem to be riddled with arseholes who never grow up.

 

As a rule of thumb the larger the company the more dysfunctional it is. To counterbalance this they also generally have much larger and more effective legal teams who are very good at keeping this sort of behaviour out of the public spotlight.  

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1 hour ago, Alex W. said:

Tech firms are culturally afraid to becoming “too corporate” with things like effective management, well-being-oriented HR policies, formal grievance resolution procedures and employee benefits, in case it damages the freedom they need to be creative.

 

I don't think it's so much the lack of more formal corporate processes; that's not why they're failing to reach the, I would say, fairly low threshold of 'not being a giant pit of misogynistic shitheads'. Clearly the company is filled with horrible arseholes all the way to the very brim, where rather than doing anything at all about the problems they're fully aware of, they have a quiet word to request that the perpetrators dial the sexual harassment down from an 11 to maybe just an 8 or a 9. There are plenty of developers, or more generally independent companies, where there's relatively little in the way of former HR procedures, or even a department, and yet somehow it hasn't turned into Lord Of The Flies. I mean, sure, those processes can prevent such things from taking root, to an extent, but a company's culture will always be largely reflective of its upper management regardless.

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2 minutes ago, hmm said:

 

I don't think it's so much the lack of more formal corporate processes; that's not why they're failing to reach the, I would say, fairly low threshold of 'not being a giant pit of misogynistic shitheads'. Clearly the company is filled with horrible arseholes all the way to the very brim, where rather than doing anything at all about the problems they're fully aware of, they have a quiet word to request that the perpetrators dial the sexual harassment down from an 11 to maybe just an 8 or a 9. There are plenty of developers, or more generally independent companies, where there's relatively little in the way of former HR procedures, or even a department, and yet somehow it hasn't turned into Lord Of The Flies. I mean, sure, those processes can prevent such things from taking root, to an extent, but a company's culture will always be largely reflective of its upper management regardless.


Sure, processes are not a reliable solution to the problem; even where present they would be ignored.
 

I’m more trying to highlight that in a many of these big organisations the resistance to systematic cultural improvement is often justified by a perverse sense that it somehow keeps them creatively pure. And that it’s a crock of shit.

 

It’s not quite the same thing but John Gruber has been quite vocal against calls for Apple to retain distance working (despite of its massive societal and personal benefits), arguing that it’s Apple’s cultural norm that you have to be in the office. Like Apple’s creative culture hasn’t changed entirely every 5 years in response to industry trends and its own growth.

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ActiBlizzion is a horrible company that censors protest in eSports, doesn't pay its employees fairly and sacks staff whilst execs get pay rises. And now they're outed for horrendous workplace sexual harrassment.

 

Buying Intention

COD +10

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