Over the summer, Activision-Blizzard employees organized to create the ABK Workers’ Alliance in order to take actions into their own hands following a general reluctance from their employer to act on allegations of abuse in the workplace. Just this past month, the Alliance put together a strike fund to assist those who had been financially impacted due to work stoppage. Aside from the grassroots organization among those working for the company, there has been some external pressure from brands that have historically done business with Activision-Blizzard.
Most of this pressure though has been of the light variety — PR statements that are meant to serve as rebukes in response to the litany of discriminatory allegations against one of the largest video game companies in the world. LEGO, one of the most recognizable toymakers, however, is taking it a step further and intends to delay its Overwatch 2 set indefinitely, as first reported by The Brick Fan.
Alice Carter, a senior manager of corporate brand communication for LEGO, made a statement to The Verge about the delay:
We are currently reviewing our partnership with Activision Blizzard given concerns about the progress being made to address continuing allegations regarding workplace culture, especially the treatment of female colleagues and creating a diverse and inclusive environment. While we complete the review we will pause the release of a LEGO Overwatch 2 product which was due to go on sale on February 1, 2022.
Fallout — Since allegations were first made this summer against Activision-Blizzard’s “pervasive frat boy culture,” which has negatively impacted its female employees, there has been an exodus of sorts. Despite only making up 24 percent of the company’s workforce, nearly 50 percent of all employees who left in 2021 were women.
As previously mentioned, the three biggest console-makers have all denounced the way Activision-Blizzard has handled these allegations coming to light. Something has to be going horribly awry for all three competitors to actually agree on something. However, outside of condemnations, there hasn’t really been any concrete action taken by anyone yet.
Only advertisers have done anything that will impact Activision-Blizzard’s bottom line — Kellogg Co., T-Mobile, Coca-Cola, and State Farm all pulled endorsements for the Overwatch League (Activison-Blizzard’s esports league).
Exactly how long the LEGO Overwatch 2 set will be delayed is anyone’s guess, but I wouldn’t expect it to release anytime soon.