For those of you who are regulars at Any Button Gaming, you know we do our best to cover interesting stories across the spectrum of gaming. If you are also interested in OTHER gaming press, you will know that there is a lot of coverage when it comes to a major publisher. Namely, Activision Blizzard. You may be wondering if we are going to cover it and that… is where things become complicated for us. So here it is; Activision Blizzard – Any Button Gaming’s View.
On 20th July 2021, the Californian Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. The suit itself is, of course, a legal document and outlines allegations and actions against Activision Blizzard. It also notes a standard request for the defendants to offer damages to those affected.
The lawsuit is vast but includes actions against;
- Employment Discrimination Because of Sex (Compensation, Promotions, Constructive Discharge, Harassment and Termination)
- Failure to prevent discrimination and harassment
- Unequal Pay
- Retaliation (against attempts to report discrimination and harassment)
These are all considered breaches of California State Laws. The suit states that Activision Blizzard was conducting business with offices there.
Since then, there have been statements circulated via the media of communications sent within and by the organisation. One communication denies the allegations calling the suit, “disgraceful and unprofessional“.
As these, and other statements were made, over 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees signed a letter that condemned the reaction by the organisation. The Activision Blizzard CEO issued a public statement on 27th July, calling it a “difficult week” and promising “swift action”. This was rejected by Activision employees who organised a walkout on Wednesday 28th July in protest.
On 3rd August, Activision Blizzard announced that J. Allen Brack, Blizzard President, was stepping down to pursue “new opportunities”. This has been followed with the departure of Blizzard’s SVP of Global HR, Jesse Meschuk.
Now, Activision Blizzard faces another lawsuit being filed in California. This case alleges that investors were misled by the organisation not disclosing known HR issues that could have led to legal issues.
These are the major facts of the emerging story so far. Note though, we said facts. This is important and we feel that we need to make that distinction in this piece. If you read the original lawsuit brought against Activision Blizzard (and we have), then the allegations against the firm are damning. Sickening even.
The Importance of Investigative Journalism
It is here though, that we have to somewhat split how we here at Any Button Gaming feel, to what we are going to report.
It’s hard to read the charges without being shocked. Emotions are, naturally, running high amongst the gaming community. The lawsuit has, without a doubt, caused shockwaves across the industry.
This puts the spotlight on the role of gaming media in this current story. That’s an interesting one. Any Button Gaming‘s a site run by gaming enthusiasts who just love writing about, talking about, and playing games. We are not investigative journalists.
Investigative journalists play an important role in a free press and open society. It involves a huge amount of work to expose stories that are in the public interest. They’re backed up by sources, research and facts. It is important that investigative journalism continues to do good work throughout the gaming industry.
It was the work of journalists in France that reported on allegations of misconduct at famed developer studio Quantic Dream. This, in turn, led to legal action being taken against the studio.
Emotions Vs Facts
That’s where things get challenging for us.
Media, be it from large outlets or smaller outlets, or even the work of influencers/streamers/Youtubers, etc. are also reporting on the allegations and lawsuit. Which is fine when it is reporting. The thing is, with such public interest in the matter, reporting has veered towards the emotive rather than the factual.
Opinion pieces are fine; free speech is important. As stated, we here at Any Button Gaming have our own opinions on the lawsuit and the potential implications of what is occurring at Activision Blizzard. However, that is not the same as reporting.
Our belief (and hope) is that the lawsuit will get to the truth of the situation. If the allegations can be proven in a court of law, we want justice to be served against everyone responsible. We want this lawsuit to inspire change in the industry and force organisations to make employee equality and well-being central to how they are run.
Activision Blizzard – A Catalyst for Real Change
It’s important that this story is reported on accurately. These are serious allegations.
What we will not do is take am incredibly serious lawsuit as an opportunity for clickbait or sensationalism. We feel that a lot of current reporting is cynically adding fuel to a fire with its content.
It is an awfully fine line between reporting and personal opinion. We aren’t sure that the reporting of repeated reactions to the lawsuit, looking for possible past infractions via unconfirmed social media posts, or rampant speculation will help make real change.
So, when it comes to something this serious, we are only going to report what we consider to be fact. This may leave us open to the charge that we are, somehow, condoning this behaviour. This is not the case; wanting justice done does not mean sharpening pitchforks while you wait.
Activision Blizzard – Any Button Gaming’s View
This lawsuit is big. It is important. It deserves accurate and unbiased reporting.
It’s up to us, as individuals, to read the facts and determine our response. If one feels strongly, put that emotion into practical action. Do not buy or support those products. Do not interact with events, publicity, or promotions from Activision Blizzard. These are all your personal choices as a consumer.
Just don’t let anger and emotion end up doing something unproductive that could prejudice a real trial. Don’t let this be another media fuelled fire storm that burns brightly and is forgotten when the next Diablo comes out.
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Rudy Manchego has been gaming since the days of the BBC Micro Computer and spreads himself thin with a love of retro, indie and mainstream gaming. He’s one half of the Jambags Comedy Gaming podcast and likes nothing better than kicking back with a nice pot of lapsang souchong, a good game and a background podcast on the intricacies of Spanish cheese making.