November 23, 2022

Activision Blizzard walkout organizer quits

Jessica Gonzalez, a senior test analyst at Activision Blizzard who has been instrumental in employee class action efforts, is resigning from the company.

Drive the news: Gonzalez, who has been with the company for more than two years, announced his resignation internally and via Twitter Tuesday, noting that her last day will be December 10: “I have made the decision to leave Blizzard with my well-being first,” she wrote.

  • “I regret not having been able to meet my colleagues under better circumstances, but I take with me our shared vision of diversity, equity, inclusion and workers’ rights and I appreciate the work that we have accomplished during my time here,” she added. wrote.
  • “I believe that with enough education and awareness, ABK can be a great place. There is still a lot of work to do and I am mentally wounded by this fight. The road to change has been long and exhausting, But it is not finished. “

In a message specifically addressed to CEO Bobby KotickGonzalez says he’s had “years to fix the culture.”

  • “Your inaction and unwillingness to take responsibility is driving away great talent and products will suffer until you are removed as CEO.”
  • Activision Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment.

Catch up: A Better ABK, a group of employees working to unionize, staged a strike – their second in about five months – on November 16, following a the wall street journal report that Kotick was aware of sexual misconduct at the company, despite claims to the contrary.

  • “It’s almost like they’re begging us to unionize,” an Activision Blizzard employee told Axios after the walkout.
  • Industry figures like Xbox’s Phil Spencer and PlayStation’s Jim Ryan criticized Activision Blizzard’s management of its widespread problems, while others called for Kotick’s resignation.
  • Activision Blizzard’s board of directors has, however, stood by Kotick, saying they remain “confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment and ability to achieve these goals.”
  • A open letter of employees currently has more than 1,850 signatures calling for Kotick’s resignation. Gonzalez is the second name on this petition.
  • Notably, the November walkout happened within hours, as opposed to the longer planning period. the first required in July. In conversations with Axios, employees attributed this speed to Gonzalez.

The big picture: Gonzalez has been a vocal critic of Activision Blizzard’s handling of its ongoing harassment and misconduct scandal, as well as a prominent internal advocate for change.

  • Gonzalez led efforts for the latest walkout and was heavily involved in organizing the first. An employee told Axios that she gave “a voice” to the tensions within the company: “She gave it the impetus to become what is happening now with A Better ABK.”
  • Principal engineer Valentine Powell worked with Gonzalez during his time there to improve working conditions. They told Axios that the company was “losing a pillar of culture” in the business.
  • “His efforts have reverberated and encouraged others to stand up and speak out about their own lives and experiences,” they said, highlighting his advocacy on topics including accessibility changes and improving services. hiring practices.
  • “She has been a consistent voice throughout her time at ABK, pushing to see life improve for marginalized groups across all of our businesses,” Powell said.

And after: Gonzalez told Axios that organizing efforts within the company “continue and I will always support ABK workers in the organization.”

  • “The band is more than her, but she was the spark that ignited the explosion,” an employee told Axios.