EEOC contact Activision employees amid sexual harassment investigation - Dexerto
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EEOC contact Activision employees amid sexual harassment investigation

Published: 12/Aug/2020 16:55 Updated: 12/Aug/2020 16:56

by Richard Lewis

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On August 12, Activision Blizzard employees were contacted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as the government body begins an investigation into potential violations of discrimination laws within the company.

Current and former employees at all levels of the company were contacted via email and asked to participate in a survey, with each employee being given a unique reference code to ensure the ability to follow up on any claims of discrimination. The email comes after a long, heavily publicized period of internal unrest around working conditions.

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The investigation takes place a little over a week after employees at the company shared their salaries in a bid to figure out if they were being paid fairly for their work, a story that was published by Bloomberg.

The email reads:

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Hello,

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the U.S. Government agency responsible for enforcing the federal laws against employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, and retaliation.

The EEOC is investigating Activision, in regard to allegations of gender-based and/or sexual harassment. The fact that EEOC is conducting an investigation of Activision does not mean there has been a violation of the law.

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You are receiving this email because the EEOC received information from Activision that you are a current or former employee. If you personally experienced or witnessed gender-based and/or sexual harassment at Activision, the EEOC would like to speak with you about your experience.

When you access the survey, you will be asked to type in your passcode in order to access the survey. Your passcode is [redacted]. This is your unique passcode. Please do not share your code with others. If you are currently employed by Activision, do not take this survey during work hours or using company-supplied equipment or your work email address. If no longer employed by Activision, response to the survey should be done on personal equipment during nonworking hours.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Your participation in the EEOC’s investigation is protected by federal law, and it is a violation of federal law for an employer to retaliate against you because you participate in an EEOC investigation. Your participation in the survey and responses to survey questions are voluntary and not required.

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The investigation appears to have been underway for a few months now with some employees having been contacted via letter back in May this year. After the investigation began there were a number of incidents that related specifically to alleged sexual harassment that made it into the public domain.

In June former Senior Manager of Global Business Strategy and Operations of Blizzard, Tyler Rosen, was publicly accused of sexual assault, with claims that Activision Blizzard had been informed of the situation and didn’t act upon it.

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The month after popular Call of Duty commentator Philip “Momo” Whitfield was removed from his role within Activison Blizzard’s Call of Duty League after the company was sent evidence of inappropriate messages sent to women within the esports space.

Momo casting Call of Duty
Call of Duty League
Momo was let go from his position from Activision Blizzard after accusations against him.

Going further back to January 2019 a former Blizzard employee, Julian Murillo-Cuellar, filed a complaint with the EEOC after he claimed he was racially discriminated against in the workplace.

It isn’t clear if this investigation continuing is related to these incidents becoming public knowledge. We shall update this story as we know more about the investigation’s intentions and findings

Business

Twitch staff accused of tricking streamer into promoting brands

Published: 7/Oct/2020 21:28 Updated: 7/Oct/2020 21:34

by Alan Bernal

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Twitch streamers are speaking out against the broadcasting platform for attempting to promote brands within individual chats. Content creators are slamming the practice, especially since they have no control of removing the adverts from their channel.

One longtime YouTuber and Twitch streamer who goes by ‘The Black Hokage’ noticed a staffer had dropped a message in his Chat. The purpose of the text, sent by ‘newcryka,’ was to have the streamer acknowledge the listed brand with 400 Bits attached to the post.

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He immediately took issue with the move: “Yo, are you promoting something?… You got a Twitch staff symbol next to your name, are you promoting sh*t in my Chat?”

After posting the interaction on Twitter, more streamers slammed the apparent unsolicited advertisement from the streaming platform.

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“Creators beware! Twitch staff is now going around donating spare change in an attempt to trick you into shouting out brands without proper compensation. Don’t fall for it,” The Black Hokage said.

Twitch partner and viral streamer ‘negaoryx’ responded: “Which is great, because we can’t moderate anything said by Twitch staff in chat, so we can’t even purge it… great…”

There is a function that lets people ‘/Clear’ their channels messaging log, which lets “broadcasters and chat moderators to completely wipe the previous chat history.” This feature doesn’t apply to messages from Twitch staff accounts.

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However the means, content creators and the wider Twitch community got an indication that the streaming platform could experience more intrusive marketing campaigns.

Some believe that The Black Hokage’s clip could have been a Twitch advertisement staff member testing out a new form of social engagement tactics meant for branding – and the thought isn’t unfounded.

In early August, an outside company released how its latest marketing scheme made use of Twitch’s donation alerts to get a branded sound bite played on a streamer’s channel. Their video showed multiple instances of a Twitch account surprising streamers by donating $5 to get a brand’s name and current offerings played on their page.

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The idea was immediately chastised for its way of engaging in promotion and sponsorship for a company without consulting or locking a paid deal with the individual streamer. However, despite inevitable backlash, advertisers are still trying out new methods of outreach.

The Amazon-owned streaming site has been incorporating more ways to engage audiences with branding promotions and advertisements.

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Twitch
Amazon solutions for ads have directly integrated Twitch channels and streamers in the past.

“Twitch video and display media, as well as new Twitch audiences, are now available for inclusion in Amazon Advertising campaigns, and Amazon audiences are available for inclusion in Twitch campaigns,” Amazon wrote. “We’re delighted to share that we are combining Twitch’s hard-to-reach and highly engaged audiences with Amazon Advertising’s integrated full-funnel advertising offering.

Days after Amazon announced it had added Twitch to its Amazon Advertising portfolio, the streaming site announced it was testing out mid-roll ads for channels. This too was vehemently criticized by everyone from Twitch streamers to viewers, and the idea was later abandoned.

Twitch
Twitch has been experimenting with new ad campaigns that have drawn ire from viewers and streamers.

A feature that hasn’t gone back to the drawing board has been the picture-in-picture mode for ads that minimizes and mutes the main stream while playing a fullscreened promotion. This too was received with angst from viewers.

Twitch’s latest attempt at finding a more engaging way to introduce ads to its reported 17.5 million daily users has, again, created ire from its partnered content creators.

As Amazon and Twitch continue to create advertising solutions for its highly-valuable and impressionable audiences, the platform’s streamers will be on the lookout for more marketing tactics that look to benefit off of their communities.