Activision Blizzard employees sign letter to company executives over ‘insulting’ statements in response to lawsuit
Activision Blizzard employees have signed a letter sent to the company’s executives calling out the executive’s statements in response to the California lawsuit on sexual harassment incidents.
This employee letter calls out Activision Blizzard’s executives, including Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend, over internal and public statements made in response to the lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment.
Activision Blizzard’s only public statement on the lawsuit diminished the claims in the lawsuit as being “old” and claiming the culture has “changed” internally at Blizzard.
Internally, both Blizzard’s President and Fran Townsend sent emails to the company’s 10,000+ employees. Townsend’s email specifically caused further backlash over her wording disregarding the allegations entirely.
Townsend’s email said, “presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories – some from more than a decade ago” which angered employees internally over a tone deaf response. Townsend joined Activision Blizzard in March 2021 as the company’s Chief Compliance Former. She was a former Homeland Security official during President Bush’s administration.
The employee’s letter takes a firm stance against these responses saying, “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.”
Here’s the full letter:
“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.”
Many employees of Blizzard entertainment have been posting publicly on social media calling out the executives’ of the company over their response. Some have even said that Fran Townsend does “not represent” their views and her internal email was “abhorrent.”
The allegations have taken the community by storm, with several Blizzard Entertainment developers sharing on Twitter their personal reaction to the lawsuit. Several have voiced their disdain for how such a culture was allowed to be fostered.
Activision Blizzard has not issued a public statement on the situation since their first on July 21, and the company’s social media empire – across Call of Duty, Overwatch, Warcraft, and more – has been silent since July 21.