On Wednesday, Activision Blizzard employees will walk out of work to protest the company’s response to a giant sexual harassment and workplace discrimination lawsuit filed by the state of California. Now Blizzard, the studio at the center of many of those specific allegations, is giving the protest its blessing. Blizzard leadership emailed studio employees today to let them know they won’t face repercussions for attending — and in fact, that they can have paid time off for the duration.
The Verge obtained a copy of the email, which we aren’t sharing here to avoid potentially identifying sources. After over 20 percent of Google employees walked out of work in 2018 to protest that company’s mishandling of sexual harassment revelations (among other grievances), several Google Walkout organizers said they faced retaliation despite the company’s supposed support of their cause. They left, or got pushed out of the company. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found earlier this year that Google “arguably violated” labor law by firing several other organizers as well.
Over 2,600 Activision Blizzard employees have signed an letter condemning the company’s response to the state of California’s lawsuit. That’s nearly a third of the company, assuming it hasn’t grown or shrunken significantly since Activision Blizzard’s official tally of 9,500 employees in December 2020.
Additional reporting by Zoe Schiffer