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Shameful Activision DEI Email Leaked

Mark Kern (@Grummz on Twitter) has exposed an internal email from Activision that underscores the company's aggressive push towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives... and it is NUTS.

The email outlines a series of measures that tie employee bonuses and performance reviews to their engagement with DEI activities. It also mandates the installation of DEI Officers on every development team to ensure adherence to these initiatives.

...Totally normal and not anything to worry about, just play the games we sell you and keep smiling.

The Leaked Email: An Overview

The leaked email from Activision highlights several key points:

  • Performance and Bonuses Linked to DEI: Employees' performance reviews and bonuses are directly influenced by their participation in DEI activities.

  • DEI Officers on Every Team: Each development team is assigned a DEI Officer to monitor and enforce compliance with DEI standards.

  • Weekly DEI Communications: Employees receive multiple DEI-related emails weekly, creating an environment saturated with what some might see as propagandistic content.

The Industry Reaction

The reaction to this leak has been mixed. While I've seen some applaud the commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable workplace, others, like Kern, argue that this approach is heavy-handed and counterproductive. To me, it feels like a cult. If you don't want to participate, you are blackballed out of it, fostering the exact environment DEI is supposedly against in the first place. Especially when you see Activision already designed a website to push this narrative in your face.

Kern's perspective, shared by many in the industry, is that such stringent measures may not foster genuine inclusion but rather enforce a culture of compliance and resentment. By tying critical aspects of employment, such as bonuses and performance reviews, to DEI participation, companies risk creating an environment where employees engage in DEI activities out of obligation rather than genuine commitment.

The Broader Implications

Activision's strategy raises significant concerns about the future direction of the video game industry. Companies like Ubisoft and Activision, according to Kern's contacts, are leading the charge in this aggressive DEI push. This trend could (and some argue has already) set a precedent for other AAA studios, fundamentally altering workplace dynamics across the industry.

  1. Impact on Employee Morale: Linking DEI participation to performance reviews and bonuses can create a sense of coercion. Employees might feel pressured to engage in DEI activities, not out of a genuine desire to foster inclusivity but to secure their livelihood. This coercive approach can lead to resentment, undermining the very goals of DEI initiatives.

  2. Authenticity vs. Compliance: DEI efforts should ideally stem from a genuine commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive environment. When these efforts are mandated and closely monitored, the focus shifts from authenticity to mere compliance. This shift can dilute the impact of DEI initiatives and breed skepticism among employees.

  3. Industry Reputation: The video game industry is under constant scrutiny for its workplace culture. Aggressive DEI enforcement can further polarize opinions, with some viewing it as necessary progress and others as overreach. This polarization can affect the industry's reputation and its ability to attract diverse talent genuinely committed to inclusivity.

A Call for Balanced Approaches

While the intent behind DEI initiatives can theoretically be explained away as commendable, the method of implementation is crucial. Companies should strive for a balanced approach that encourages voluntary participation rather than enforced compliance. This approach can foster a more genuine and sustainable culture of inclusivity.

  1. Incentivize, Don't Penalize: Instead of tying bonuses and reviews to DEI participation, companies could offer incentives for voluntary engagement. This approach can encourage genuine participation without creating a sense of obligation.

  2. Education and Awareness: Focus on educating employees about the importance of DEI rather than mandating participation. Awareness campaigns, workshops, and open discussions can foster a more inclusive mindset organically.

  3. Feedback and Adaptation: Regular feedback from employees about DEI initiatives can help companies refine their strategies. Listening to employees' perspectives and adapting initiatives accordingly can ensure that DEI efforts are impactful and well-received.

The leak of Activision's DEI email by Mark Kern has sparked even more discourse about the direction of DEI initiatives in the video game industry. While the goals of these initiatives are potentially good-natured, the methods of implementation need careful consideration. The path to hell is paved with good intentions. To me, it feels like these implementations have gone so far that they have become counterproductive, destroying the very thing they were created to stand for in the first place.

A balanced approach that fosters genuine inclusivity without creating a culture of coercion is essential for the sustainable success of DEI efforts.

As the industry navigates this complex landscape, it is imperative to remember that the true spirit of diversity, equity, and inclusion lies in authenticity and voluntary commitment, not in enforced compliance.

But this? This... ain't it.


1 Comment

You said it yourself: It's a cult.

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