Content warning: the text and links in this article contain references to sexual harassment and transgender discrimination.
Sledgehammer Games, the developer of Call of Duty Vanguard, has issued a statement regarding the harassment lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.
The studio has announced the next instalment in the Call of Duty franchise. It comes at a time when Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty, is embroiled in a lawsuit from the state of California. A lengthy investigation has uncovered alleged horrific working conditions at the company, with a nurtured ‘frat boy’ working culture.
During an early press preview of the new Call of Duty, a representative for Sledgehammer Games issued a lengthy statement on the studios stance regarding the lawsuit. Aaron Halon, Studio Head at the developer, said:
‘On behalf of Sledgehammer Games, and all of the teams supporting Call of Duty Vanguard, harassment of any kind goes against everything we stand for as a studio. Everyone, regardless of title, role, gender, orientation, ethnicity, are to be treated always with dignity, respect, and equality.’
Halon clarified that they couldn’t comment on the lawsuit specifically, but remarked that, ‘as a team we are committed to making sure all team members feel safe, welcome, and respected.
‘So please know as we start our presentation that these thoughts and actions are at the top of our minds and will be going forward. They speak to the core values of who we are and who we wish to be.
“The stories and the pain that people have shared are simply devastating. We love making games – it’s what we do. It’s our life’s work and we love it. But more importantly than that, we’re all humans. We’re here for each other working side by side and looking out for one another in good times and in bad times.’
Until now, Sledgehammer has remained silent on the lawsuit
Sledgehammer Games, alongside other Activision studios, has remained mostly silent on their social media channels during the attention of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit. Aside from retweeting a letter from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, the developer has refrained from making any public comments – until now.
Since news of the lawsuit broke, several employees and game fans have protested against the working conditions that Activision Blizzard has fostered. Staff demonstrated a mass walkout at the end of last month. Meanwhile, World of Warcraft players staged a sit-in on one of the game’s servers to raise money for charity.
Even now, new reports continue to flow from behind the doors of Activision Blizzard. Most recently, it was reported that transgender QA testers at Activision Blizzard have apparently been deadnamed repeatedly while at work. Deadnaming is the use of a transgender on non-binary persons former name without their consent. It’s most often used as a way to intentionally reject a transgender or non-binary persons identity.
Organisers of the walkouts have listed a number of charities that people can donate to in support of women in games:
- Mermaids – https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/
- Black Girls Code – https://www.blackgirlscode.com
- Futures without Violence – https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org
- Girls Who Code – https://girlswhocode.com
- RAINN – https://www.rainn.org
- Women In Animation – https://womeninanimation.org
- Women in Games International – https://www.getwigi.com
Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard