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Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft staff sign open letters decrying handling of misconduct allegations

Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft staff sign open letters decrying handling of misconduct allegations

Employees at games publishing giants Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft have signed open letters complaining about how the companies have handled allegations of misconduct, abuse and harassment.

As reported by Bloomberg, more than 2,000 current and former employees at Activision Blizzard have complained about the firm's response to the recent lawsuit filed against it by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. In the letter, staff describe the corporate response as "abhorrent and insulting."

The response from Activision Blizzard was mixed to say the least; an initial comment denied all the allegations and said that many of the incidents referenced were false or distorted. This was echoed by EVP of corporate affairs Fran Townsend's response to employees, while the heads of Activision and Blizzard expressed surprise and shock at the details laid out in the lawsuit.

Since, CEO Robert Kotick has written a letter to employees – posted on the company's investor portal – saying that its response was "quite frankly, tone deaf." The exec has said that it will be taking "swift action" and was bringing in law firm WilmerHale to review its HR policies. There are reports of that organisation being involved with union-busting in recent years.

Yesterday (Wednesday, July 28th), staff at Activision Blizzard conducted a walkout in protest of the company's response to the allegations levelled against it.

Meanwhile, Axios reports that around 500 workers at French publisher Ubisoft have also signed a similar letter, criticising how the company handled the numerous allegations of misconduct and toxicity that came to light in 2020. The letter also expresses solidarity with employees at Activision Blizzard.

"We believe you, we stand with you and support you," Ubisoft staff wrote.

"It should no longer be a surprise to anyone: employees, executives, journalists, or fans that these heinous acts are going on. It is time to stop being shocked. We must demand real steps be taken to prevent them. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions."

Ubisoft is currently also facing a lawsuit over its handling of reports of employee misconduct. French union Solidaires Informatique filed the case earlier in July following the slew of allegations levelled against staff in 2020.


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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