2021 has not been a good year for Activision. The company's toxic culture was recently exposed, with several high-ranking executives having already vacated their posts and changes made to the timeline of its games, along with adjustments to titles that are already out. Unfortunately, it appears that things aren't about to get better for Activision anytime soon.
Activision-Blizzard finds itself in hot water once again
You'd think that anyone of authority that's working at Activision would prefer to keep their head down, at least, until things start to improve. However, one particular high-ranking executive doesn't seem interested in keeping a low profile. This time, Brian Bulatao just put Activision and his position in a precarious situation after sending out an email that effectively tells Blizzard employees not to unionize going forward.
The email, which was signed by the company's Chief Administrative Officer, was reportedly sent out last December.
It didn't take long for Bulatao's message, who is also a former CIA and State Department official, to go viral on Twitter. One of those who made the email public was Jessica Gonzales, who is a workers' rights advocate and currently employed as a Senior Test Analyst over at Blizzard.
— Jessica Gonzalez 💙 #WeAreRaven (@BlizzJess) December 10, 2021
To summarize what Bulatao said, the email starts by thanking Blizzard employees and conveniently reminding them that the company recently made 500 temporary workers full-time while implementing a "zero-tolerance" policy towards workplace sexual harassment. Then, in the second paragraph, the email addresses a statement from The Communications Workers of America wherein it encouraged Activision Blizzard Employees to apply. Specifically, Bulatao warns employees to think about the "consequences" of what would happen should they organize under the CWA banner.
TLDR; Bulatao's message acknowledges that Activision Blizzard employees have a legal right to unionize but it adds the move is not going to come without any pushback from the upper management if it happens.
While the email does say some positive things about how the workplace culture will improve the best through "active, transparent dialogue between leaders and employees that we can act upon quickly," it conveniently glosses over several problems about Activision's management. Bulatao is asking employees to trust Activision-Blizzard in the email. Unfortunately, the company has proven several times already that the current management is not worth trusting.
Speaking of Activision Blizzard, the publishing giant just lost a chance to showcase current and upcoming games at The Game Awards 2021. The company stands to lose even more as Xbox head Phil Spencer and PlayStation head Jim Ryan are both reconsidering their respective relationships with Activision following the recent allegations.