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Activision-Blizzard riddled with sex creeps


Harsin
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Also if enough people stop buying their goods and sales figures drop then these execs might be dropped by their board/shareholders as well. If you are an exec or CEO of a big company and that company's sales drop then you might well find yourself in the poop. Especially if the bean counters look at the reasons for lost sales and realise it's because the board are putting off consumers with regressive HR practices.

 

However(!),I doubt there are enough boycotts to change anything either for the execs or the rank and file employees. UBISoft are still led by Yves Guillmot and still haven't done enough and yet the progressive streamers and youtubers are still shilling for them on a regular basis whilst wringing their hands and writing such meaningless stuff as "I hope they are going to hear our message" - they won't until you hit them in the pocket. UBISoft had a big reveal presentation of their upcoming slate shortly after the whole abuse scandal broke and prefixed it with a note saying they were looking internally and wouldnt be addressing it - a fair number of the progressive youtubers and streamers who had been screaming at UBI to do something prior to this simply nodded sagely and "hoped UBI would do the right thing" and then did their live stram reactions etc and got all excited about the new stuff.

 

pfft.

 

EDIT - just so I have a point, I don't think boycotting affect much so feel free to boycott and go with your conscience. I haven't bought a UBIsoft product since the scandal broke (I was going to buy Legion and had bought other stuff in past) and I doubt I'll buy a ActiBlizz one now (Altho the remake of Diablo 2 will hurt a bit) . Since the shit hit the fan with the games industry in general I have been sticking with mostly "indie" (small dev) type productions and games

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41 minutes ago, Anne Summers said:

What about all the poor underlings at all the other companies you don't buy stuff from, too? Do we have an obligation to keep them all in jobs? Or are we only supposed to make buying decisions purely based on the quality of what's being sold, and not the ethics of how they do business?


I never said you had an obligation to do anything, only to do what you feel is right for you, personally. 

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I'll admit it's easy for me to sit here and say I'm gonna boycott Activision-Blizzard, but I don't really buy their games anyway (I own Overwatch but haven't played it in years and bounced off Diablo 3, not a CoD player either), same goes for Ubisoft, I'm not interested in Assassin's Creed and it's only Rocksmith I've bought from them in recent times.

 

I'm not really boycotting them as I'm not their target audience.

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As someone who does vote with their wallet, and hasn't bought from ActiBlizzard for years thanks to their more generally shitty business practices, I am aware that my actions are negligible: short of employee-organised large-scale boycotts, individual consumer actions have only a minor impact on the company. However, as someone who works outside of the industry, it's the only thing close to a meaningful impact I can have, so it's what I'll do.

 

As for the concern for "the impact my buying some other game instead of ActiBlizzard's will have on their staff", I don't consider that a reasonable concern. Not least because they have repeatedly demonstrated that their games being wildly successful has no effect on their choice to retain or fire staff, but even beyond that if the choice is between choosing to support a toxic workplace in the hope they continue to keep people employed, or supporting a less toxic studio that doesn't in fact abuse their staff, I don't find that a particularly morally challenging one.

 

Or, to put it in slighly longer-winded and less polite terms, this tweet (and following thread) more or less matches my perspective on it:

 

 

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It’s an even more nonsensical argument than usual with Activision-Blizzard as when people do buy their games they still fire the people who made them (and replace them with cheaper new hires) and the profits go on exorbitant bonuses and dividends.

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I think a boycott will have less of an impact than the reasons for a boycott, and its visibility. I doubt they want their carefully

cultivated negative space of a brand image to become “the company that hates women”. Yeah, they only care about the PR but eventually internal problems become part of that.

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This is good news that more people are aware of this sort of stuff. Doesn't stop people smashing their wallets into the latest Ubisoft open world collectathon or NetherRealm/Naughty Dog's latest gore splasher though. People will just continue to decide that their favourite developer's transgression isn't really that bad in the grand scheme of things, which is fine.

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25 minutes ago, deerokus said:

Were there allegations about nether realm?

 

Yup. They got a full sweep of shitty practices. Yelling at staff, treating staff like shit, all the crunch hours in the world, giving all the women nick names, telling the women not to complain, making staff watch snuff etc etc. I'm shocked we allow a Mortal Kombat thread on here considering what goes into the sausage is pure poison

 

https://variety.com/2019/gaming/features/netherrealm-studio-warner-bros-games-toxic-1203204728/

 

https://kotaku.com/id-have-these-extremely-graphic-dreams-what-its-like-t-1834611691

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On 24/07/2021 at 10:50, Harsin said:

I'm not sure changing it to a Black Widow style boobs and butt pose can really be classed an an improvement.

 

https://www.zimbio.com/Beyond+the+Box+Office/articles/0nuq_xGDiCO/Marvel+Still+Hasn+t+Learned+Lesson+Marketing

 

spacer.png

spacer.png

 
 

The Tracer thing is an odd one, it often gets reduced to “screeching SJWs complained and said it was sexist” but that wasn’t the actual complaint, at least not entirely.  The initial complaint was from a thread on the official forums that basically said it was a bit suggestive maybe, but that doesn’t seem to fit Tracers character.  It was more “I don’t like this, it’s a boring pose that just seems to exist to show off her but, while other characters get poses that in some way express something about them”.  That’s why it got changed to what it did, it’s supposed to be a homage to the kind of pin up girls you saw on Air Force planes - can’t remember if there is an actual proper inspiration for it, but similar to this,

 

image.thumb.jpeg.0ad8cbca601ea5b28e99bb714bb39c12.jpeg

 

As far as their games go, there are still some women in bikinis knocking about in WoW, but they’ve generally covered up where it makes sense to - eg, Alextrasza still hasn’t been covered up in human mode, but she also transforms into a big massive dragon and isn’t really involved in much of the fighting now, while Jaina and some of the others have been hitting the frontline of battle and dressing appropriately.  They’ve been covering up or completely changing some of the art in Hearthstone for a bit now, but apparently that’s to appease the Chinese market.  It’s kind of hilarious seeing people react when they do this as apparently artistic freedom doesn’t count if you are covering up some video game tiddies. 
 

Going back to the Tracer pose, I read the thread at the time, and it was entirely reasonable - some players said “hey, we don’t think this pose really fits tracer, seems like a generic ass pose”, and the devs went “you know what, you’re right let’s see if we can do a better one….what about this” and the players went “yeah, that’s better.  I mean, it’s still suggestive but at least there’s more to it than that”. And then a bunch of weirdos went HOLY SHIT BLIZZARD ARE CENSORING TRACER THIS IS A TRAVESTY.  And I still can’t pretend I know any other reason other than faux outrage at the sjw strawman they have in their heads who they somehow thought were offended by butts.

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The argument that boycotts will hurt innocent employees came up in the Ubisoft thread some time ago, and the same applies here. The fact is that Activision's employees pay will not be determined by the success of their games, with the possible exception of bonusses which seem to be tied more to review scores than sales. This isn't some indie studio where the only pay comes from profits, and assuming Activision want to keep making games they will always need to employ staff.

 

And sure, boycotts probably won't make a huge difference, but aside from voting with your wallet there's not much more you can do as a consumer.

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A thread from the World of Warcraft lead designer calling out Activision for how terrible their statement was, and touching on how badly it's been received by staff.

 

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Awful, awful stuff., it's clearly a deep-seated culture at Blizzard to the extent they should be shut down. 

 

I remember that gamer gate guy Mark Kern was a Blizzard dev. Probably one of many there. 

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1 hour ago, TehStu said:

That twitlonger is absolutely horrendous.

I’m horrified on a daily basis. Then I remember gamergate, and before gamergate, and read again what it was like in 2010 as a woman/minority in certain tech/game companies and I wonder: 

a) what the fuck is going on

b) how the hell the likes of blizzard, activision, Ubisoft, quantum dream, random indie dev of misogynistic frat boys, haven’t been sued to oblivion

c) how much it goes on where I work, outside of the games industry, but which I’m just not aware of because of the types of teams I work in

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https://kotaku.com/over-1-000-activision-blizzard-employees-sign-letter-co-1847364340

 

Over 1,000 employees have signed a letter condemning the original response to the lawsuit from Activision Blizzard:

 

Quote

To the Leaders of Activision Blizzard,

 

We, the undersigned, agree that the statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, are abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for. To put it clearly and unequivocally, our values as employees are not accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership.

 

We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry. Categorizing the claims that have been made as “distorted, and in many cases false” creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims. It also casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future. These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first. Immediate corrections are needed from the highest level of our organization.

 

Our company executives have claimed that actions will be taken to protect us, but in the face of legal action — and the troubling official responses that followed — we no longer trust that our leaders will place employee safety above their own interests. To claim this is a “truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,” while seeing so many current and former employees speak out about their own experiences regarding harassment and abuse, is simply unacceptable.

 

We call for official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault. We call on Frances Townsend to stand by her word to step down as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network as a result of the damaging nature of her statement. We call on the executive leadership team to work with us on new and meaningful efforts that ensure employees — as well as our community — have a safe place to speak out and come forward.

 

We stand with all our friends, teammates, and colleagues, as well as the members of our dedicated community, who have experienced mistreatment or harassment of any kind. We will not be silenced, we will not stand aside, and we will not give up until the company we love is a workplace we can all feel proud to be a part of again. We will be the change.

 

This is the internal email sent to all staff by Frances Townsend (Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Activision Blizzard) that the letter refers to, it's pure corporate 'defend the company at all costs' nightmare fuel:

 

image.thumb.png.f67992796697980378b55c56a796b7f2.png

 

 

Before working at Activision Blizzard she was Homeland Security Advisor to George W Bush.

 

Bobby Kotick's Republican political ambitions are grim as fuck.

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In addition Joshua Taub (COO at Activision Blizzard) held a contentious 500-person all hands meeting yesterday where he told staff that they were going to fight the lawsuit:

 

 

This caused uproar internally. 

 

There's been talk of unionization as the senior leadership team are saying they will fight the lawsuit, and they are telling staff to trust the internal processes that have already failed them.

 

This story is going to run and run.

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Reminder: Activision is the company that paid money to an actual war criminal (Oliver North) to consult/promote a Call of Duty game and he even made a cameo appearance in the final game.

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6 hours ago, Quest said:

Oh look, it's a superficial dickhead on the internet focusing on a non-binary person's appearance. Haven't seen one of those in the last five seconds.


Hold up, I didn’t know they were non-binary. It’s not like they aren’t known for dressing up in their videos as part of their “persona”. 

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7 hours ago, Doctor Shark said:

"There's nothing fun or funny in this video" says man wearing ridiculous hat, wig and glasses whilst talking about harassment, sexual abuse and suicide.

What has James Stephanie's appearance got to do with anything? I wish I had their confidence to wear what I want. They are still making extremely valid points. 

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16 hours ago, Isaac said:

And a twitlonger from someone who worked at Blizzard, calling out the behaviour of senior members of staff (and naming names):

 

https://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1srp3fb

 

Trigger warning: descriptions of sexual harassment.

 

Blimey.  I found that worse to read than some of the more shocking events in the legal papers, as it paints a picture of a place where this stuff was happening all the time, every day.

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Asmongold posted a vid about things on his more serious channel (rather than his persona one, although he’s discussed it at length over there, too). 
 

For those not in the know, Asmongold is pretty much solely responsible for the sudden resurgence of players to Final Fantasy XIV because he got bored of WoW and decided to give FF a try. 

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51 minutes ago, Doctor Shark said:


Hold up, I didn’t know they were non-binary. It’s not like they aren’t known for dressing up in their videos as part of their “persona”. 

 

Sterling addressed this in one of his earlier videos. He has the usual wacky getup, and was agonising on whether to change into a more sombre appearance for the heavy videos but then he just thought that would be ludicrous. He sticks to being himself and wears what he wears no matter what the content.

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