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Activision Blizzard hit with new harassment and discrimination lawsuit
The suit details the experiences of a current employee referred to as "Jane Doe" and contains multiple concerning allegations.
March 24, 2022
3 Min Read
Activision Blizzard has been hit with a lawsuit containing new allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.
As reported by Bloomberg, the suit was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of a current employee referred to as "Jane Doe" by attorney Lisa Bloom.
According to the lawsuit, Doe has worked at Activision Blizzard since 2017 as a senior administrative assistant in the IT department, and during that time has experienced what they describe as an "alcohol-soaked culture of sexual harassment."
The lawsuit reiterates the allegation that Activision Blizzard has cultivated a "frat boy" culture that enables "rampant sexism," and details how Doe was pressured to take shots and share an "embarrassing secret" as part of an initiation dinner that took place on her first day of work.
Doe claims there was continuous pressure to drink alcohol at work events and take part in "cube crawls" that saw women verbally and physically harassed. She also claims that after-work events such as a "Jackbox" event, which requires players to submit answers to various prompts, often resulted in responses that were mostly sexual in nature.
The suit also details how Doe attempted to dress "more conservatively" to avoid being harassed, and had to deal with sexual advances made by her supervisors. After complaining about those experiences, Doe claims she was told it was just a case of leadership "being nice" and to keep those concerns to herself to avoid "damaging" the company.
In a bid to escape that hostile environment, Doe says she applied to a number of open positions within the company but was rejected. She then wrote a letter to Blizzard's then-president J. Allen Brack recounting her experiences of harassment, at which point she was offered and accepted a new role in a different department -- albeit one that provided a lower salary and less status within the company.
After that, Doe says she applied for an open executive position in November 2021 but was subsequently rejected after speaking out about her experiences of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at a press conference in December 2021.
The lawsuit is seeking numerous court orders against Activision Blizzard that would require the company to install a rotating human resources department to quash conflicts of interest, hire and retain a neutral investigation firm, and fire CEO Bobby Kotick -- who has also been accused of harassment by "several" women.
Activision Blizzard, which is due to be acquired by Microsoft in a $68.7 billion deal, is currently being investigated by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a result of numerous harassment and misconduct allegations.
Back in March, the company said it has been struggling to attract and retain workers as a result of those allegations, and suggested that reports of sexism, bullying, and workplace toxicity may have had an "adverse effect" on its ability to retain employees.
About the Author(s)
News Editor, GameDeveloper.com
Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.
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