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Ex-exec sues Activision Blizzard for "old white guy" discrimination

A former executive claims he was victim of ageism at the Call of Duty publisher, and that non-white men at the company made a hostile environment.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 8, 2024

2 Min Read
Logo for game publisher Activision Blizzard.
Image via Activision Blizzard.

At a Glance

  • The unnamed executive believes he's been discriminated against prior to being let go during the company's mid-2023 layoffs.

An unnamed former executive for Activision Blizzard is taking the company to court for discriminating against older white men at the publisher.

Per Law360, the 57-year-old claims he and other men aged 47 and up were let go this past August for their race and age. As evidence, he pointed to a comment made by recently departed CEO Bobby Kotick about there being "too many old white guys."

Following that comment, the suit claims a pair of white executives left the company in part due to those "ageist remarks." The plaintiff was recommended to replace one of the exits, but the position allegedly went to a younger, non-white employee instead.

Activision Blizzard has come under legal fire related to discrimination before. Both suits ended in settlements, one of which was reached this past December.

However, in those instances, the suits also concerned the company's alleged harassment-laden history. Since that initial reporting, any discrimination against older white men has never been mentioned.

The ex-exec's suit goes on to claim the manager created a hostile work environment, in turn lowering his merit-based salary. He also alleges a female worker made "false and defamatory" remarks to HR.

In retaliation, he filed his own complaint with HR, where he accused Activision Blizzard of failing to properly protect him. He also said he was the first to recognize "a larger issue might be brewing."

Those complaints weren't taken seriously, according to the suit. And when he was laid off, the company "placed profits over people by terminating the older, higher paid executives.

The executive wants compensation that covers his lost earnings and the damage to his career and reputation, as well as emotional distress and wrongful termination.

In response to GamesIndustry's inquiries, Activision Blizzard pointed the outlet to its policy on equal employment opportunities.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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