August 8, 2022

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By Michael Tobin | Bloomberg Activision Blizzard said that almost half of corporate departures in...

By Michael Tobin | Bloomberg
Activision Blizzard said that almost half of corporate departures in the last year have been women, a statistic the video game publishing company is trying to change amid multiple lawsuits and investigations into alleged harassment and discrimination.
In a 2021 diversity report released Thursday, Activision said women make up just under a quarter of full-time employees, which it says is on par with the industry as a whole. But the Santa Monica-based company is behind its competitors in other areas, with underrepresented ethnic groups making up 36% of employees, compared with 40% for the industry as a whole.
“While representation company-wide is similar to our peer gaming companies in the United States, this is wholly inadequate in my mind,” Activision Chief Operating Officer Daniel Alegre wrote in a letter to employees. “We will do better.”

Blizzard Entertainment employee Christine (last name withheld), center, stands with her husband, Eric, right, and her attorney, Lisa Bloom, as she reads a statement about sexual harassment at the gaming company in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Blizzard Entertainment employee Christine (last name withheld), hugs fellow employee Chrystal Blackwell before Christine told her story of sexual harassment at the gaming company in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The Blizzard Entertainment campus in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Blizzard Entertainment employee Christine (last name withheld), center, stands with her husband, Eric, right, and her attorney, Lisa Bloom, as she reads a statement about sexual harassment at the gaming company in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Blizzard Entertainment employees and supporters walked off the job in July after a state of California probe alleged the company is mired in toxic “frat boy” conditions. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Blizzard Entertainment employees and supporters protest for better working conditions in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Blizzard Entertainment employees and supporters protest for better working conditions in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Blizzard Entertainment employees and supporters protest for better working conditions in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Blizzard Entertainment employees and supporters protest for better working conditions in Irvine, CA, on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

J. Allen Brack, the president of Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine, is stepping down, just a week after workers staged a walkout over allegations of harassment and discrimination. (File photo: Orange County Register)

The report comes amid a months-long furor over Activision’s male-dominated culture. The company, known for hit video games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, was sued by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July over allegations of sexual harassment, unequal pay and retaliation. The agency described a “frat boy culture” at the company and accused leadership of failing to take action.
Activision Blizzard employees have staged walkouts and signed petitions demanding Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick resign. The company has pledged to make it more inclusive and welcoming to its nearly 10,000 employees.
Earlier this month, a four-year employee at Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine stood outside the company’s gates and shared her experiences, which echoed those alleged in the state lawsuit.

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Identified only as Christine, she said she was subjected to rude comments about her body, suffered unwanted sexual advances and had been touched inappropriately. She also spoke of alcohol abuse at team events and said the workplace was “a frat boy a culture that’s detrimental to women.”
The company has since vowed to change its work environment.
“While we have made great strides on a number of fronts this year, and in our games in particular, we hear you: there is undeniable frustration within the organization around our progress on, and responses to, workplace concerns,” COO Alegre wrote.
Alegre said some of the efforts to bring about change may take time to be felt across the company but that there would be “additional important changes in the new year.” Releasing the diversity report is part of Activision’s response to a demand for more transparency.
Among other findings in the report are that on the corporate level, women make up 47% of the workforce. Though women and people of color represent more than half of entry level positions.
The company said that it wants to increase the representation of women and non-binary workers by 50% to more than one-third of employees overall in the next five years and will tie diversity to performance metrics.
Activision also faces a legal deadline from the state of California to add more women to its board in the next month. Currently the company has two women on its 10-member board. Activision said last month it’s working on adding a new, diverse board member as part of a plan to eliminate workplace harassment and discrimination.

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