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The Surprising Way Gamers Are Protesting Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard is facing serious allegations following a recent lawsuit alleging that the company allowed a "frat boy" culture to develop that made female employees the target of "constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation," as reported by Bloomberg Law. While the case has only just begun to wind its way through the legal system, some gamers have decided to make their stance on the issue known with a surprising protest inside "World of Warcraft."

To help their voices be heard, hundreds of players arrived on July 22 for a sit-in event at the Idyllia Steps of Oribos, the social hub added to "World of Warcraft" in the most recent expansion, "Shadowlands." The protest was organized by the Fence Macabre faction neutral roleplaying guild, which operates on the Moon Guard and Wyrmrest Accord servers.

Fence Macabre stated the goals of the protest in an announcement on Twitter, which read, "We as customers and members of this community protest the unethical treatment of employees at Activision-Blizzard, and demand that they make transparent lasting changes to their company and associated IPs."

The allegations made in the lawsuit have shaken the confidence the videogame community once had in Activision Blizzard, and the sit-in offered an opportunity for some to express their disappointment. Here is how the event communicated a desire for change from the player base and managed to find some positivity in a disheartening situation.

The World of Warcraft sit-in brought a community together and raised money for Black Girls Code

The protest was open to anyone who wished to participate but specifically invited sub-locked players who could not cancel their accounts due to a prepaid subscription to protest the shocking allegations. This gave gamers who were unable to take financial action against Activision Blizzard a platform to stand with the victims of the supposed harassment.

In addition, the protests supported a fundraising campaign for Black Girls Code, a non-profit dedicated to creating pathways for young women to the tech sector by introducing them to computer programming and digital technology skills. After the protest ended, Fence Macabre announced on Twitter that they had raised over $8,000 for the organization and would continue to take donations until the following Monday, July 26.

The sit-in has not been the only in-game avenue that "World of Warcraft" fans have used to respond to the allegations. The Guardian's report on the lawsuit stated that Alex Afrasiabi, a former Activision Blizzard employee, was allegedly "permitted to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussion." Afrasiabi is represented by a "World of Warcraft" character named Field Marshal Afrasiabi, which has led some players on Reddit to call for his removal. Others Redditors decided to take matters into their own hands by retaliating against the NPC as their own characters.