Activision Blizzard sued by California over ‘frat boy’ office tradition

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A “frat boy” surroundings rife with sexual harrassment and office discrimination. That is what the state of California is accusing Activision Blizzard of through an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Division of Truthful Employment and Housing (DFEH).

The DFEH’s swimsuit formally accuses Activision Blizzard of office discrimination. It alleges that ladies aren’t solely compensated unfairly, but additionally topic to appreciable harrassment. The DFEH referred to as Activision Blizzard a “breeding floor for harrassment and discrimination,” by which girls are topic to common sexual advances by males, typically high-ranking, who largely go unpunished.

“Ladies and women now make up virtually half of avid gamers in America, however the gaming trade continues to cater to males,” the swimsuit reads, “Activision-Blizzard’s double-digit share development, ten-figure annual revenues, and up to date variety advertising and marketing campaigns have sadly modified little.”

Activision Blizzard, which publishes titles together with Name of Responsibility and World of Warcraft, and final yr had revenues of over $8 billion, is the most recent in a line of gaming giants to face criticisms over office tradition. The CEO of Riot Video games, the corporate behind the massively common League of Legends, was accused of sexual harrassment in February by a former worker — only a yr after it paid $10 million to over 1,000 girls to settle a discrimination lawsuit. Final yr dozens of accusations of sexual harrassment at Ubisoft, which publishes Murderer’s Creed, led to the resignation of three executives.

Illustrative of the claims DFEH is making in opposition to Activision is an workplace ritual known as “dice crawls,” by which males allegedly drink “copious” alcohol, crawl by means of the workplace cubicles and interact in “inappropriate conduct” which incorporates groping. The lawsuit describes confronting incidents, together with allegations a feminine worker dedicated suicide throughout a enterprise journey on account of a poisonous relationship with a supervisor.  

Activision-Blizzard firmly rejected the swimsuit in a press release launched to media. “The DFEH contains distorted, and in lots of instances false, descriptions of Blizzard’s previous,” it stated, accusing the state division of submitting a rushed and inaccurate report. The corporate stated it was “sickened” by the inclusion of “the tragic suicide of an worker whose passing has no bearing in any way” on the case.

“The image the DFEH paints just isn’t the Blizzard office of as we speak. Over the previous a number of years and persevering with for the reason that preliminary investigation began, we have made vital adjustments to handle firm tradition and replicate extra variety inside our management groups. 

Past office harrassment, the DFEH lawsuit additionally alleges systematic discrimination in opposition to girls. Ladies are payed much less for a similar work, the lawsuit alleges, and are topic to a better stage of scrutiny. The Depertment criticized Activision-Blizzard for using fewer girls than males — it stated 20% of the corporate’s workers had been girls — and for its solely white, male “prime management”. Of the 12 management positions listed on the agency’s web site, three are stuffed by girls. 

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