Before President Trump rode down the golden escalator to destiny, before Twitter exploded into an online battle between free speech and wokism, there was GamerGate.
Beginning in early 2014, GamerGate was a backlash against what many (mostly male) supporters saw as the growing influence of a handful of female game developers and game journalists, whom - the GamerGaters' insisted - were trying to force video game culture to become more progressive in fit in better with their far-left ideals.
Given that most gamers are men (few of whom would identify as radical feminists), the backlash against game developers such as Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, and feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian - to name a few, quickly escalated to online bullying, threats and doxxing, according to Bloomberg.
Since then, 'woke' gaming studios that hired an army of 'protected class' employees to avoid public scrutiny have been grappling with sexual misconduct scandals, transgender scandals, and other issues that arose thanks to years of walking on eggshells. It's also resulted in a glut of big-budget games falling flat on their faces thanks to a forced diversity agenda that left the overwhelmingly male gaming demographic with a bad taste in their mouth. (If only Obsidian would make a Fallout 4 sequel)...
Some have even criticized GamerGate as the seed corn from which the world-shaking events of 2016 grew - namely, Brexit and the election of President Trump. Which is perhaps why so many Gamer CEOs are taking such dramatic steps to prove that they're doing everything in their power to give women a "fair shake" in an industry where lawsuits are still being filed over "frat boy culture" where women don't feel comfortable.
To wit - Activision-Blizzard, the maker of the popular Call of Duty franchise, has found itself in a tough situation after its lawyers failed to convince a California court to temporarily halt an ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination case against the firm that was fired by a small group of female workers.
On their behalf, California’s civil rights agency sued the video game maker in July, accusing it of fostering an uncomfortable environment for female employees. In response, Activision denied some claims while firing or nearly 2 dozen workers and cancelling an annual event.
"Activision denied some claims while taking steps to punish those accused. It recently ousted 20 employees, it said, and called off an event for its biggest annual convention in February." -Bloomberg
Now, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has announced perhaps the world's most text book example of virtue-signaling.
After receiving a massive $154.6 million in compensation last year, which follows $30 million earned in 2019, Kotick has gregariously agreed to take a 99.96% pay cut.
In a speech to Activision Blizzard employees, Kotick apologized that he hadn't kept "the guardrails in place" when it came to the company's culture, and that fixing the 'frat boy' culture is now his responsibility.
"The guardrails weren’t in place everywhere to ensure that our values were being upheld," Kotick said in a letter to employees dated Oct. 28. "In some cases, people didn’t consistently feel comfortable reporting concerns, or their concerns weren’t always addressed promptly or properly. People were deeply let down and, for that, I am truly sorry." -Bloomberg
According to the report, Kotick is instituting the following changes:
- His pay will be reduced to the lowest he's legally allowed to receive among California Law, and has asked to receive no bonuses. This represents a 99.96% rate cut.
- Before Kotick can get his old pay package back, his company will need to increase the percentage of women and non-binary people to its workforce by 50% and invest $250MM to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent.
- He also plans to launch a 'Zero Tolerance' policy for harassment.
- And take steps to increase the visibility of pay equality
- While also waive required arbtrage for sexual harassment and discrimination claims.
We're sure this will improve the quality of games, and totally won't ruin them further like the most recent season of Rick and Morty.