World of WarcraftThe current social hub for Oribos is packed with players, but that’s not due to a new raid or an update. Hundreds of players are taking part in a protest against Activision Blizzard in the game after lawsuits were filed Tuesday by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The court documents include allegations of a “frat boy culture” that subjected female employees to “constant sexual harassment.”
The protest was organized by Fence Macabre, a role-playing party that runs faction-neutral stories on the Wyrmrest Accord and Moon Guard servers. In addition, the group runs a fundraiser for the charity Black Girls Code, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching girls ages 7-1
Fence Macabre encourages all locked players to join us on Thursday, July 22 at 9:00 PST at Idyllia Steps, Oribos.
Alliance Anchor: Vicaire-WyrmrestAccord
Horde Anchor: Loira-WyrmrestAccord
Fundraising campaign: https://t.co/uRVkYZUcSY pic.twitter.com/bl8IaLXVXh
– Fence Macabre Caravan (@fencemacabre) July 22, 2021
The lawsuit was widely publicized Wednesday night. Many players were horrified to hear about the alleged culture around a game that is meaningful to so many people.
When the players log out of the protest, new faces appear to join the group. Many of their accounts are “locked in”, which means they have prepaid active playing time on their account. I sat among the protests for a while and watched the conversation slow down and flow. Someone showed up to say goodbye and wish his teammates good luck, like an elf who said he was looking for a reason to come back to Final Fantasy 14. Others at the sit-in took the opportunity to vent anger and frustration with specific Blizzard employees named in the suit, and speculate in the in-game chat about which manager wrote the company’s immediate response.
Hinahina Gray, a deputy to Fence Macabre and an authenticity reader who provides a native Hawaiian perspective to the media, spoke with Polygon about the protest. “Some people who have joined us are still undecided, discussing leaving communities they have curated,” she wrote in a Discord message. “It’s never an easy decision to make such a big emotional investment. Most people here have canceled their sub. We wanted to protest in the game, as it would allow people from all over the world to sit and join us. Since we still have playing time, we might as well try to do something about it. ”
She also acknowledges that the decision is difficult for some players.
“That said, it’s an emotional loss, many people in our extended society are struggling, especially people who are also marginalized who have been able to find others as themselves and cultivate a sense of belonging,” Gray said. “As a queer indigenous people, I definitely feel it. While I have external real support systems and resources, it is especially meaningful to find these communities in a shared hobby. ”