Following the filing of a massive lawsuit against the company earlier this week, multiple games media outlets and streamers are opting to cease any coverage of Activision Blizzard games until the company can show a demonstrable improvement in its discriminatory work culture. Sites like TheGamer, Prima Games, GameXplain and more have stepped up to suspend coverage of Activision Blizzard titles amidst reports filed in a California lawsuit against the company that allege a “frat boy” culture that discriminates and actively harms female employees.
TheGamer Editor in Chief Kirk McKeand tweeted out his decision to cease coverage of the games following the reveal of a rather dismissive email from Activision’s Fran Townsend to the company’s employees that denied the allegations made in the lawsuit.
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
Prima Games tweeted that it would be halting coverage of both Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft titles, given the ongoing issues at both companies.
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
GameXplain put a moratorium on Activision Blizzard games coverage for the remainder of the year, with the possibility of extending it if change is shown within that time.
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
Gaming outlets Switch Player, Ninty Fresh, [lock-on], and Cinelinx have stated they will not be covering Activision-Blizzard or Ubisoft titles until further notice, following reports of discrimination & abuse against women.
Will be keen to see others follow. pic.twitter.com/7z7Bp6OL9a
— Ryan Brown (@Toadsanime) July 23, 2021
Some other content creators and streamers are also taking a firm stance and refusing to stream Activision Blizzard games. More are joining regularly.
With multiple upcoming big announcements, such as the Call of Duty: Warzone and Black Ops Cold War Season 5 launch on August 11th, the reported Call of Duty 2021 reveal via a Warzone event later in August, and Blizzard’s Diablo II Resurrected in September, it’s unclear how the California lawsuit will impact Activision Blizzard’s marketing plans as the narrative shifts to focus on the allegations and reports made. All of its various studio and game social media channels have been radio silent since news of the lawsuit broke on Wednesday. A new Overwatch map reveal was also impacted yesterday, when Dexerto pulled its “first look” reveal. Whether that decision was made by Dexerto or at the request of Activision is unknown.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Stance
PlayStation LifeStyle will also be generally pulling back on coverage of Activision Blizzard games, so don’t expect to see us hyping double XP events, free play weekends, or playlist updates. We’ll continue to cover updates regarding the lawsuit, as well as how the lawsuit may (or may not) impact upcoming reveals, releases, and events. As a clear deep-rooted cultural issue in the company, we feel that any coverage of Activision Blizzard games needs to be intrinsically tied to these reports and calls for change so that they can’t be carpeted over by hype. At the same time, there are many good and hardworking people across Activision, which employs nearly 10,000, and we don’t want to see the blowback of a wholesale mortarium fall on the most vulnerable at the company.
Activision Blizzard’s responses to the allegations in the lawsuit have so far been rather disappointing, dismissing and denying in various comments, both public and internal, from company executives. Many have not been satisfied with the company’s rather dismissive and remorseless tone to the numerous very serious allegations made in the lawsuit, which in one case include a female employee committing suicide during a work trip after ongoing sexual harassment. People are calling for deep systemic change from the top to root out the discriminatory culture and won’t be satisfied with platitudes.