Activision Blizzard Sued by California Over Toxic Work Culture Which Includes Sexual Harassment & Discrimination

A suit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against Activision Blizzard levies disturbing claims against the popular video game publisher/developer, accusing the company of fostering a toxic work environment where sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination took place, particularly directed against minority and female employees.

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According to Bloomberg Law, which first reported the suit, this action is the result of a two-year investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Here are some of the details picked out by Bloomberg Law that describes the toxic workplace alleged by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing:

  • “female employees make up around 20% of the Activision workforce, and are subjected to a ‘pervasive frat boy workplace culture,’ including ‘cube crawls,’ in which male employees ‘drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.’
  • “The agency alleges male employees play video games during the workday while delegating responsibilities to female employees, engage in sexual banter, and joke openly about rape, among other things.”
  • “Female employees allege being held back from promotions because of the possibility they might become pregnant, being criticized for leaving to pick their children up from daycare, and being kicked out of lactation rooms so male colleagues could use the room for meetings, the complaint says.”
  • “The suit also points to a female Activision employee who took her own life while on a company trip with her male supervisor. The employee had been subjected to intense sexual harassment prior to her death, including having nude photos passed around at a company holiday party, the complaint says.”

According to Destructoid, another part of the suit alleges that an African-American woman, upon requesting a day off, was asked to write a full-page document explaining what she intended to do with the free time, a request that is not consistent with Activision Blizzard’s company policy. The accusations, if true, are absolutely horrifying, and paint a very grim picture of the company’s workplace.

Activision Blizzard has responded to the suit. Here is the statement via Bloomberg Law:

“We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind. We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.”

“The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past,”

“We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so.”

“The picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today.”

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Ed McGlone
Ed McGlone was with Twinfinite from 2014 to 2022. Playing games since 1991, Ed loved writing about RPGs, MMOs, sports games and shooters.