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Nonprofit Girls Who Code Severs Ties to Activision Blizzard

Girls Who Code has partnered with Activision since 2019.
Girls Who Code has partnered with Activision since 2019. / Photo courtesy of Girls Who Code

The nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, which teaches computer science to young women in an effort to reach gender parity in the field, has ended its relationship with Activision Blizzard amid the fallout from the many revelations about its work culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

"Our priority has and always will be to stand up for women and other underrepresented groups in tech and ensure that they are given the support and stability they need to actively thrive as they pursue a career in computer science," the organization wrote in a blog post published Thursday. "The news about Activision proves that our priorities are fundamentally misaligned. We cannot in good conscience continue to work with a company that is so antithetical to our own values."

Activision Blizzard has been under fire since the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued it this summer for allegedly allowing and encouraging sexual misconduct toward female employees and gender discrimination in its hiring and payment practices. CEO Bobby Kotick has been singled out for his role in preserving that culture both actively and passively, as detailed in a bombshell investigation published this week.

Girls Who Code has partnered with Activision Blizzard for its Summer Immersion Program since 2018. Now, that partnership has come to an end.

"In choosing our partners, we do so knowing that the tech industry is often unwelcoming to the very communities we are trying to serve. That’s why we only work with those who are willing to have tough discussions about how systemic sexism, racism, discrimination, and harassment have impacted company practices and work culture," reads the Girls Who Code blog post.

"We hold our partners accountable when they fall short and work with them to bring meaningful solutions to the table. However, there is a line, and the allegations against Activision have crossed that line."

Pressure continues to mount on Bobby Kotick to resign from his position as CEO. As of Friday afternoon, more than 1,500 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a petition for his removal. The heads of both PlayStation and Xbox have criticized his handling of the controversy. A group of Activision Blizzard investors has called for his resignation.

"We respect all feedback from our valued partners and are engaging with them further," Activision said in a statement to Bloomberg on Thursday. "We have detailed important changes we have implemented in recent weeks, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to the work of ensuring our culture and workplace are safe, diverse, and inclusive. We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team.”