How much Activision does it take to change a Blizzard?

I’ll be interested to see if Activision actually does anything meaningful, because I guarantee that a public company that size first hired a crisis management firm. Then that firm recommended the law firm to do the investigation. That doesn’t always mean a whitewash or finding a couple of scapegoats to take the fall, but the crisis management playbook for publicly-traded companies tends to lean that way. They are far more worried about a shareholder suit and SEC problems if this non-disclosed information hurts the share price.

Source: 15 years as an outside counsel HR investigator and hearing officer with a rep for being a hard-ass & refusing to whitewash anything. Find someone else if you wanted that. If management is a little scared of you and the employee unions hate you, you’re doing a good job.


For four years I was a roadie for Bands You Have Heard Of. Needless to say, I’ve seen shit. I never took part in said shit. Most of it was I was raised well, some of it was needless to say sobering when the woman you might spend some time with spent some time with Guns and Roses the night before. For me, I liked the work and working shows was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve had.

In this case, it’s an interesting distinction that I probably can’t wrap my head around. For me, I keep coming around to “this is ostensibly a professional-level job and if HR at any straight job I’ve had heard about this, heads would roll.” If it’s a consensual fan thing, not so much of a problem.

Except when you’re the one guy who doesn’t drink, has his career affected because you don’t hang out after hours, or drink soda pop at gatherings. Not that has happened to me, mind you.

Fun group activities build teams, sure.

I have worked a multiple large companies, both of which a decade ago, this would have been the mantra, and over time they have all shifted away from drinking at sanctioned work events/functions. Removing open bars from holiday parties etc.

It is too much of a liability, because stuff, like at Blizzard, keeps happening.

The games industry is just behind the times on this stuff.

Heh. One of my former coworkers never went drinking with us because he was an observant Muslim. In his case, anyway, it doesn’t seem to have hampered his career; he’s still at that company (I was laid off years ago) and is (I suspect) making a lot more than I do. But yeah, booze like many things can be a basis for exclusionary behavior.

Being old, the first law firm I worked for had a liquor cabinet, and every Friday at 4pm was cocktail hour. Seemed like a really dumb idea to hand out free drinks right before the drive home, but that was the firm tradition. The liquor cabinet went away after a couple of former associates filed lawsuits because a some of the partners would get far too loose with their language. I’m still proud that I was one of only two attorneys at the firm who were not named in any of those suits, because I treat people with respect and act like a professional. It ain’t difficult.

There’s also an ADA issue hiding here (technically it is now the ADAAA, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, but that’s too hard to say & write all the time). If you are a recovering alcoholic or addict, that’s a protected disability (if you fall off the wagon, you’re not recovering anymore, and you lose the ADA protection). It would be extremely difficult to prove that skipping alcohol at company or employee events caused some sort of discrimination in promotion or receipt of other job benefits, but the risk is there for employers. Basically the same discrimination issue exists if an employee doesn’t drink for religious reasons.

My employer does not reimburse for alcohol, which cuts down on a lot of problems. I was at an airport bar a few years ago having dinner & a drink, and asked the bartender if I could get the drink on a separate check. He said, “No problem, we get that request a lot, especially from pilots.” Good to know, good to know, how much is an interstate Uber?

Well, it’s the games industry, so unions aren’t exactly an issue. :P

The latter, I’d say.

What adult people do consensually, should be no one’s business but their own. But there’s a difference between a rock star who represents himself, and someone who is representing a company. If the rock star does something he shouldn’t be doing, he’s only hurting himself. The guy representing a company, on the other hand… well, most normal corporations are none too eager to have their names dragged into that kind of mess. Thus why most companies are pretty proactive about avoiding that kind of situation.

Activision/Blizzard apparently did not get that memo.

One of the companies I worked for did that, though they made an exception for business-related meals with clients/press/etc.

Another company gave everyone a flat amount per diem for travel, which led to some really weird behaviors, like more junior staff skipping meals all together so they could pocket some extra cash.

Also, given the number of stories that have come out throughout and beyond the large thrust of the #MeToo movement about a number of rock stars/bands in the pop-punk/emo scene centered around events like Warped Tour that specifically targeted, say, underage fans (I mean obviously you’ve got shit like Lori Mattox as a 14-year-old with Bowie and Jimmy Paige back in the 70s too). Bright Eyes, Brand New, Lostprophets (jesus Ian Watkins was a fucking monster) maybe even Fall Out Boy.

Pop culture rockstars have always been an object of devotion for young fans, and more than a few have specifically used that to their predatory advantage.

AKA, maybe it might be time to reassess the level of okay we are as a society with rockstars wearing down groupie inhibitions with booze and drugs backstage. . .

I’ve been wondering when or if this kind of reckoning was going to happen with touring musicians in the #metoo era, but it seems a lot harder to address because:

  • Generally musicians don’t work for large companies with HR teams. They are either individuals or a band that is probably a corporate in and of itself, and they don’t give a shit about HR.
  • It’s not currently illegal to have consensual sex with a fan who is of age. And unfortunately it seems pretty rare or nonexistant that underage fans sue.
  • The music labels, which do have HR teams, generally don’t care what their artists do until they get into trouble. As long as the money’s flowing, they are unlikely to mandate rules about this sort of thing, above and beyond a very generic morality clause that I assume most labels include in their contracts.

Maybe things will change as time goes on though.

I kinda don’t think your Mick Jaggers of the world needed to wear down groupies with booze, but it’s not something I have personal experience of. It goes without saying that targeting the underage (which I’m sure has happened plenty, beyond cited examples) is beyond the pale.

Well fuck. Didn’t know about that. Deja Entendu is was one of my favorite albums of all time. What a fucking creep. Gah

Frankly the number of whiny boi 00s emo icons who don’t have credible sexual assault allegations against them might be smaller than the number who do :(

I had a coworker at a big biotech here in CA who had worked for bigger pharma in New Jersey. He told me about guys taking their rivals or bosses to lunch, having a drink or two with them, then calling in that they were drunk at work so they were fired that day.

Multiple coworkers who had worked at our company’s former NJ site attested that the (unbelievably obnoxious) woman who’d been department head there for years would routinely disappear with her second-in-command for a 3-hour lunch, come back to the office, and run a meeting while sloshed.

Davey Havok? Gerard Way? Geoff Rickly? Are they still OK?

Brand New though… it should have been obvious:

Barely conscious in the door where you stand
Your eyes are fighting sleep while your mouth makes your demands
You laugh at every word, trying hard to be cute
I almost feel sorry for what I’m gonna do

This vile piece of shit is cousins with Joe Rogan

(But they’ve never actually met, hah)

Im with @stusser on the room. Yes, innocent until proven guilty is a hill worth defending, even if you have to acknowledge some shitty things have happened on its slopes.

Wasn’t Activision the original 2600 game publisher/developer that allowed for distinct authors/creators of their respective games instead of anonymous teams leading to EA’s vision for artists?