Development on World Of Warcraft is currently on hold as Activision grapples with the lawsuit describing instances of harassment, unfair pay and racial discrimination at the company, according to a senior developer.
The following article contains details that some readers may find upsetting.
Jeff Hamilton, senior system designer on the massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has issued a response to the controversy surrounding the company. "I don't know what to do," he said in a thread on Twitter. "I don't have all the answers. I can tell you, almost no work is being done on World of Warcraft right now while this obscenity plays out. And that benefits nobody - not the players, not the developers, not the shareholders." Recently, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision for fostering a "pervasive frat boy workplace culture" where women would not be paid fairly or receive fair opportunities for their efforts for the company.
Furthermore, stories from women of colour at Activision are concerning, relaying the fact that they were "micromanaged," criticised for their body language and vocabulary and subjected to rules that others didn't have to follow. The lawsuit in its entirety is found here. Activision itself has rebuked the claims made by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
"We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone," read the statement provided to IGN. "There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue."
"Activision's response to this is currently taking a group of world-class developers and making them so mad and traumatized they're rendered unable to keep making a great game," continued Hamilton and added a list of usernames for present and ex-Activision employees who have spoken out about their experiences at the company.
Also, there is an internal petition that is gaining traction at the company which lambasts Activision's formal and informal responses to the lawsuit. "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," read the petition (thanks to Ars Technica). "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."
The "truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit" quotation comes from a private memo sent to staff from executive vice president Frances Townsend, who also said that the lawsuit used "factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories." The internal petition - which has about 1,000 signatures - requests that Townsend "step[s] down" from her role in the Activision Blizzard King Employee Women's Network. "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," concluded the statement. "We will be the change."
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