World of Warcraft players stage sit-in protest following Blizzard allegations

World of Warcraft players stage sit-in protest following Blizzard allegations

Calls for NPC based on former dev to be kicked out of Stormwind.

World of Warcraft players have staged an in-game protest following recent allegations made against developer Blizzard.

This week, the State of California sued Activision Blizzard over what it alleges to be a “frat boy” culture that created “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women”.

The lawsuit includes a number of disturbing allegations and alleges a culture of “constant sexual harassment” mainly at Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.

Activision Blizzard has strongly denied the accusations.

In response, World of Warcraft players have gathered in social spaces such as the Idyllia Steps in Oribos to hold sit-in protests.

The protest was organised by Fence Macabre, a faction-neutral role-playing guild that operates on the Wyrmrest Accord and Moon Guard servers.

The protest raised over $8000 for Black Girls Code, a group that aims to introduce young women of colour to skills in computer programming and technology.

According to the lawsuit, women of colour were allegedly criticised for their body language, for asking for help and for taking breaks, and were forced to document days spent off from work when colleagues were not.

“Women of colour were particularly vulnerable targets of [Activision Blizzard’s] discriminatory practices,” California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) said in the lawsuit.

“We hope this protest forces Blizzard to look in the mirror and see that those who inflicted harm – be it through direct action or by complacency – are held accountable,” Fence Macabre said in a tumblr post.

“Above all: we sit in solidarity for the victims and survivors of Blizzard’s hostile work culture, be they those who were forced to leave, those who continue to endure the suffering as we speak, and most: those who are no longer with us.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight. We know this. But change starts with a spark, a humble – yet powerful – spark all of you have shone bright today. We hope from this spark, Activision Blizzard can illuminate the rot plaguing their company and make transparent, lasting changes to better their organization and associated IPs.”

World of Warcraft players have also taken aim at an in-game character based on the former senior creative director of World of Warcraft who allegedly “was permitted to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions”.

Players are reporting this character, a quest-giver in Stormwind City named Field Marshal Afrasiabi, may be in the process of being phased out of the game entirely. But last night players called on Blizzard to remove the NPC, its associated quests and all in-game content relating to the former senior creative director.

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