Really bad news for Blizzard.
This past week a lawsuit was filed by the state of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing against Activision Blizzard, accusing the company of fostering a “frat boy culture” that enabled many alleged instances of sexism, harassment, and abuse. Activision Blizzard has since issued a public statement decrying the descriptions within the lawsuit as “distorted” and “in many cases false.” In a leaked internal email, Activision Blizzard executive VP Fran Townsend reiterated this sentiment, calling the allegations “meritless and irresponsible.”
Bloomberg reporter Jason Schrier stated on Twitter that Townsend recently sent the letter to Activision Blizzard employees. The letter starts by repeating the company’s public allegations that California’s lawsuit “presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company.” Further, Townsend alleges that the lawsuit includes “factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories,” again language that comes directly from Activision Blizzard’s public statement. Townsend isn’t specific with what she considers false, but clearly wants to share her refutation of the lawsuit with employees.
Townsend goes on to describe Activision’s companies as “great” and with “good values,” saying that when she joined the company less than four months ago she was joining a place where she felt she’d be “valued, treated with respect, and provided opportunities equal to those afforded to men of the company.” She says that this has been true during her time with Activision and that, as a leader, she’s committed to ensuring that experience is shared throughout the organization.
The body of Townsend’s letter details initiatives and investments that Activision Blizzard has made to foster a healthy and diverse environment in the past. This includes ways for employees to speak out about problems, but also systems to encourage fair compensation and equal opportunities.
Lastly, Townsend continues to expand on the idea that Activision Blizzard is currently a company with a “safe, fair, and inclusive workplace.” She makes no note regarding whether Activision is working to improve things from where it currently stands. Rather, she rejects the “egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,” saying Activision cannot let them “damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity.” Again, Townsend isn’t specific with what exactly her rhetoric is referring to, but she clearly does not see Activision to be at fault or responsible for any of the allegations California has laid out in its lawsuit.