In the wake of the sexual discrimination lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard, multiple game press outlets have made the decision to stop covering Activision Blizzard products until meaningful steps have been taken to fix the problems listed in the lawsuit complaint.
In case you missed it, earlier this week the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the gaming giant, claiming the company allowed a bro culture to flourish, which in turn helped cultivate an environment of harassment and discrimination against its female employees. Activision Blizzard, for their part, have denied the claims made in the complaint, with Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend calling the lawsuit "meritless and irresponsible" in a memo to employees after the news broke.
Bungie, who develops Destiny which at one point was published by Activision Blizzard, shared some thoughts on Twitter, reaffirming its stance towards cultivating a positive company culture. While it stresses the company is far from perfect and states that it's likely people have experienced harrassment at the company, the Halo creator states that they are "commited to rooting" out those toxic influences that would see marginalized individuals in the industry feel at risk.
Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify.We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry.— Bungie (@Bungie) July 22, 2021
It's our responsibility to ensure this type of behavior is not tolerated at Bungie at any level, and that we never excuse it or sweep it under the rug.While the accounts in this week’s news are difficult to read, we hope they will lead to justice, awareness, and accountability.— Bungie (@Bungie) July 22, 2021
We have a zero-tolerance policy at Bungie for environments that support this toxic culture, and we are committed to rooting them out to defend those who are at risk.— Bungie (@Bungie) July 22, 2021
Women, POC, and underrepresented communities have nothing to gain by reliving their trauma. We believe them when they come forward with reports of abuse or harassment.— Bungie (@Bungie) July 22, 2021
We don’t pretend that Bungie is perfect and that no one has experienced harassment while working here, but we will not tolerate it and will confront it head on. And we will continue to do the work every day to be better.— Bungie (@Bungie) July 22, 2021
Our goal is to continue to improve the experience for everyone working at Bungie and do our part to make the gaming industry as a whole to be more welcoming and inclusive.— Bungie (@Bungie) July 22, 2021
Since the news has come out regarding the allegations made against the company, multiple sites have come out in support for those who have faced harassment and discrimination at not just Activision Blizzard, but across other companies within the games industry. As part of a desire to hold the company accountable, many gaming press sites have come out and stated they will no longer be covering Activision Blizzard products until the culture at the company has improved.
The sites include many major outlets, such as TheGamer, The Escapist Magazine as well as Prima Games. Prima, for their part, are including Ubisoft in their suspension of coverage, citing similar sexual harassment claims made at the company over the last few years.
We’re going to stop covering Activision and Blizzard games until there’s some real change and this gaslighting bollocks ends. We’ll cover the ongoing news regarding the current story, but we won’t be covering the games. https://t.co/714h9qwBz7— Kirk McKeand (@MckKirk) July 23, 2021
In light of recent reports regarding allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination at Activision, Blizzard, and Ubisoft, Prima Games is putting a hard pause on coverage of all Activision, Blizzard, and Ubisoft content until further notice.— Prima Games (@PrimaGames) July 23, 2021
In light of the horrific sexual harassment allegations brought against Activision Blizzard, we are suspending any and all coverage of Activision Blizzard games for the remainder of the year, and perhaps indefinitely, until the work culture has been demonstrably improved.— GameXplain (@GameXplain) July 23, 2021
Starting today The Escapist will not be streaming or covering any Activision Blizzard products until we hear of meaningful change at the publisher.My career is built around humanizing developers, and this statement from Townsend is dehumanizing and something we won't support. https://t.co/vrFXMaj7fm— Nick Calandra (@nickjcal) July 23, 2021
PlayStation Lifestyle isn't stopping coverage of the games themselves, however the approach to how Activision Blizzard games will be covered will change based on the lawsuit's allegations. The outlet states that "any potential future coverage" will be "considered through the lens of the lawsuit allegations."
Multiple outlets cease Activision Blizzard games coverage following lawsuit alleging a "frat boy" culture. PSLS is also pulling back, with any potential future coverage considered through the lens of the lawsuit allegations.https://t.co/12WE1miu7z pic.twitter.com/yUHxP0BOb1— PlayStation LifeStyle (@PSLifeStyle) July 23, 2021
As I stated on Twitter earlier today when these reports started to trickle out from outlets, this is not an insignificant decision on the part of any site choosing to take this stance. As the vast majority of websites are funded based on traffic-supported ad revenue, by choosing to not cover one of the largest gaming publishers on the planet for any amount of time will ultimately result in lost traffic, and in the long run, money. This isn't a hollow stance by any stretch on the part of any site taking part in this.For our part, we will still be covering Activision Blizzard games, though we too will not be letting up on the reporting of the lawsuit and any news surrounding it. And, on our end here at MMORPG, we will be choosing to not stream any Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft or Riot game on our platforms for the foreseeable future until we have seen a clear and transformative change at the culture of these companies.