In a lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard, the video game company that produces Call of Duty, a California state agency claims that the company engaged in sexual harassment and discrimination.
According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court by the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Activision fostered a “‘frat boy’ workplace culture” following a two-year investigation. It was revealed by the agency that executives sexually harassed women, and that male employees openly joked about rape and consumed alcoholic beverages while engaging in “inappropriate behaviour” toward women in their cubicles during events known as “cube crawls.”
Additionally, women were routinely paid less than men for similar work, and they were less likely to be promoted, according to the lawsuit.
Specifically, the agency stated that Activision’s workplace “is a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” “Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, which includes having to constantly fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors, as well as being groped at company events such as ‘cube crawls.’”
One instance, according to the lawsuit, occurred while a female employee was on a business trip and died by suicide as a result of her sexual relationship with her male supervisor. Her male coworkers allegedly shared explicit photos of the woman with her prior to her death, according to the lawsuit.
After being informed of the misconduct, according to the lawsuit, which was first reported by Bloomberg Law, the company’s executives and human resources department failed to address it.
D.F.E.H. paints an inaccurate picture of the Blizzard workplace, according to Activision, which also stated that the company strives to pay employees fairly and has worked to address its culture and improve diversity in recent years. A confidential reporting hotline and team that investigates employee concerns have been in place at Activision for several years, according to the company, which has also made other changes to its workplace.
“There is no place for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind in our company, our industry, or any industry,” Activision stated in a statement. “When there was misconduct, appropriate action was taken to address the situation.”
California had not properly discussed the allegations with Activision before suing, according to the company. The agency was singled out for criticism for bringing up the employee suicide.
This type of irresponsible behaviour on the part of unaccountable state bureaucrats, according to Activision, is driving many of the state’s most successful businesses out of the state.
The state employment agency did not respond to a request for comment. Activision was sued by the union, which sought compensation for unpaid wages, additional restitution, and punitive damages from the company, according to the lawsuit.
Activision, which is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a market capitalization of approximately $70 billion, employs nearly 10,000 people. Workers have expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s wage disparities, particularly since shareholders narrowly approved a $155 million compensation package for the company’s chief executive, Bobby Kotick, in June, making him one of the country’s highest-paid executives.
allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination are not uncommon in the gaming industry, where game studios’ work forces, particularly at the executive level, are predominantly white and male, as is the case in many other industries. Many women spoke out against such behaviour last summer, accusing individuals at various companies of misconduct — including Activision and the French video game publisher Ubisoft — and prompting even more calls for reform to be implemented. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also taken legal action against Riot Games, the company that created the League of Legends video game, accusing it of sex discrimination and sexual harassment.