Video game company Activision Blizzard is now the subject of a lawsuit brought forward by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The state entity alleges that the company fosters a “frat boy” culture that had a profoundly negative impact on the woman working at the company. This culture encouraged harassment, disparate pay and silenced the complaints of women.
California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) brings this case to court after a two-year period of inquiry. The report found that the company discriminated against women with respect to wages, promotions and other aspects of employment.
The lawsuit mentions several shocking instances of sexism at Activision Blizzard. One such example was so-called “cube crawls.” During this time, male employees would become heavily intoxicated and hop between the cubicles of female employees, engaging in harassment and other predatory behaviors. Female members assigned to work on World of Warcraft were subject to sexual advances, jokes about rape and general harassment by their male counterparts. This often included their superiors.
According to the report, male employees would often dump most responsibilities onto women while they played video games during work hours. Female employees also complained that they were denied a new job title due to the chance that they could become pregnant.
This culture likely also caused the suicide of one female employee. The employee took her life after a nude photo of her was reportedly circulated throughout the company.
Activision Blizzard’s workforce is composed of around 20% women.
“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,” said a representative for Activision Blizzard in a statement.“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,” the spokesperson claimed, later going on to say that their workplace has been represented falsely by the DFEH.