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Activision Blizzard Executive Fran Townsend Calls Lawsuit Factually Incorrect and Out of Context
2021/07/23 at 2:29 PM
In sharp contrast to the
message of apology and support
sent out by Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack yesterday, which called the recent lawsuit "extremely troubling" and the alleged behavior "completely unacceptable", newly hired Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend sent out an email which called the
sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit
"meritless and irresponsible", "distorted or untrue", and "factually incorrect", "out of context stories - some from more than a decade ago."
As the Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women's Network and our Chief Compliance Officer, I wanted to reach out to you. I know this has been difficult for many of us. A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories - some from more than a decade ago.
The Activision companies of today, the Activision companies that I know, are great companies with good values. When I joined the Executive Leadership Team, I was certain that I was joining a company where I would be valued, treated with respect, and provided opportunities equal to those afforded to the men of the company. For me, this has been true during my time. As a leader, I am committed to making sure that the experience I have is the same as the rest of the organization. We have a leadership team that is committed to these principles in every way.
I am proud to be part of a company that takes a hard-line approach to inappropriate or hostile work environments and sexual harassment issues. Our Speak Up campaign reinforces our zero tolerance for retaliation against those who do speak up. We've made significant investments to foster our inclusive behaviors, and to reflect greater diversity within our leadership teams including:
* Investing in and strengthening our DE&I Employee Networks; creating global networks to bring together the efforts in all our business units and the introduction of Executive Sponsors.
* Introducing learning and development programs, including inclusive hiring training.
* Amplifying internal programs such as the Way2Play Heroes and the recurring Speak Up campaign.
* Reinforcing channels for employees to report violations including the "ASK List."
* Introducing an Employee Relations team dedicated to investigating employee concerns.
* Continuing to require all employees to take Equality & Diversity training including anti-harassment training (and have done so for many years).
We put tremendous effort into creating fair compensation policies that reflect our commitment to equal opportunity. We review compensation regularly and feel confident that we pay all employees fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We take proactive steps to ensure that pay and advancement are driven by merit. We reward performance, and we conduct extensive anti-discrimination trainings, including for those who are part of the compensation process.
We work at a company that truly values equality and fairness. Rest assured that leadership is committed to continuing to maintain a safe, fair, and inclusive workplace. We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees. We aspire in our company to do great things: in our games, in our impact on society, and in our work environment. We continue to hold firm to our principles and invest, as we have in the past, the resources to ensure quality opportunities for all employees. We remain committed as a leadership team to doing what is right.
Townsend is a
relatively new hire
, joining Activision as an Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs, serving as the Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer in March of this year, overseeing corporate functions such as Government Affairs, Public Policy, and Communications.
Without going into specifics regarding which claims are supposedly untrue, out of context, or dated, this most recent email from Townsend is roughly in line with the initial spokesperson response from Activision, which called the lawsuit "distorted" or "in many cases false." Though with Activision Blizzard taking
one stance of denial
and Blizzard Entertainment
making another of apology
, it seems as though both companies are in damage control mode and neither are working in concert with one another.
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