The Overwatch League has released a statement in response to the recent sexual discrimination lawsuit against Blizzard. Showing support “to worthy causes at a local level.” They will match donations from the Washington Justice and Houston Outlaws to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network and Big Sister Little Sister – organizations dedicated to helping survivors on the National Sexual Assault Hotline and mentoring.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) July 30, 2021
The donations will happen throughout the match between the Washington Justice and the Houston Outlaws on July 30. For each map they take against the other, the losing team will donate to the winning team’s charity of choice. In the case of the Washington Justice, it is RAINN, an organization dedicated to helping survivors on the National Sexual Assault Hotline. The Houston Outlaws have chosen BSLS, a non-profit organization focused on mentoring programs for women that promotes self confidence and life skills. The Overwatch League said they would match every donation sent.
Overwatch League response to the Blizzard-Activision sexual discrimination lawsuit
The matched donations are the first statement that OWL has made since the recent sexual harassment allegations against Blizzard. Several workers at Blizzard staged a walkout days ago in response to the law suit filed after a two year investigation led by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The investigation revealed systemic sexual harassment and a sexist culture against female employees over a period of several years.
Jon Spector, OWL commissioner and vice president, also made a recent statement about the lawsuit on his personal Twitter.
I believe everyone deserves to feel valued and safe at work. I promise to listen to and believe women. I have zero tolerance for any behavior that makes my friends and colleagues feel unsafe or unwelcome. If I see it, I will not stand for it. I will be an ally. (2/2)
— Jon Spector (@Spex_J) July 23, 2021
The esports arm of Blizzard, in charge of running its leagues like OWL and the Call of Duty League, was also a part of the company’s sexist culture and incidents. The division of the company even had its own version of “cube crawls” in 2018 where male employees would get drunk and visit female employees at their cubicles according to Blizzard employees that Upcomer spoke to.
The response by Blizzard has been called out by several employees, to the point of writing an open letter condemning the company’s response to the discrimination lawsuit. While OWL has shown its support by donating to these causes, there is only a vague acknowledgement of the systemic issues that have plagued Blizzard, and its own department, for years. The statement itself talks of a general support for women everywhere, without putting any focus on the recent allegations against the company.