Current and former Activision Blizzard Inc. employees have participated in virtual and in-person walkouts on Wednesday to protest the company’s response to a recent discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed the lawsuit last July 20 in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing the largest U.S. videogame publisher by market value of paying female employees less than their male counterparts and providing them with fewer opportunities to advance.
The suit also alleged that Activision ignored complaints by female employees of blatant harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
More than 350 people attended the walkout event while an unknown number of other employees participated in the work stoppage remotely.
“We believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership,” said a statement from the organizers released on Tuesday, referring to the company’s official response in which it denied the allegations of the lawsuit.
Only 20% of Activision Blizzard’s 9,500 employees are women, and leadership at the company is largely white and male.
Activision Blizzard released a statement in response, saying that the company values diversity. It also criticized the DFEH’s two-year investigation as “irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.”
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick then apologized for the company’s “tone deaf” response, pledging to take “swift action.”
Activision Blizzard has offered employees paid time off for the duration of the walkout.
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