Over 2,000 current and former employees signed the petition, which condemned the company’s leadership for failing to take the lawsuit and its allegations seriously.
Days after video game producer Activision Blizzard was hit with a massive sexual harassment lawsuit, a group of current and former employees signed a petition slamming the company’s “abhorrent and insulting” response to the ongoing litigation.
According to CNN, the petition was signed by more than 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees.
The petition, says CNN, criticized Activision Blizzard’s response to a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit, which alleged that many of Activision Blizzard’s female employees were subjected to gross gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay.
While Activision Blizzard is best known for producing hit games like Call of Duty and the ever-popular World of Warcraft, it has also accrued a reputation for mistreating female workers. Sexual harassment was purportedly rampant in Activision Blizzard’s office; one woman, who was allegedly pressured into a relationship with a supervisor who then began circulating explicit pictures of her, committed suicide after a corporate outing.
However, Activision Blizzard’s director of corporate communications, Kelvin Liu, condemned the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit.
Speaking in a statement, Liu said that department’s investigation and lawsuit are “inaccurate” and presented a “distorted” image of the company.
But Activision Blizzard employees revolted. In their petition, workers said that the response is “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,” the petition adds.
The petition also calls for Activision Blizzard’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, Frances Townsend, to resign from her role as executive sponsor of the company’s women’s network.
Townsend, adds CNN, had earlier described the lawsuit’s allegations as “factually incorrect, old and out of context.”
However, the petition demands that Activision Blizzard leadership “recognize the seriousness” of women’s “allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault.”
“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,” the petition says.
CNN notes that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit cites testimony from women who work or worked at Activision Blizzard.
The women describe a “frat boy” culture at Activision Blizzard, wherein women had to “continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male coworkers.”
The lawsuit also claims that “the company’s executives and human resources personnel knew of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the unlawful conduct, and instead retaliated against the women who complained.”