Activision Blizzard just can't seem to get a break. As multiple parties file one lawsuit against another over the company's "frat boy" environment that encourages a "culture of sexual harassment", one more individual adds to the lengthy laundry list.
According to a Bloomberg report, an anonymous individual represented by attorney Lisa Bloom filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The lawsuit reads, "For years, Activision Blizzard's open 'frat boy' environment fostered rampant sexism, harassment and discrimination with 700 reported incidents occurring under CEO Robert Kotick's watch."
The harrowing report added that the individual in question joined Activision Blizzard as a senior administrative assistant to executives in the IT department in 2017, from where she was subjected to sexual harassment on the first day. Leadership reportedly told her during an "initiation lunch" that she'd need to tell everyone present "an embarrassing secret."
Jane Doe claims that things only got worse for her as time passed as the leadership fostered an environment that made her feel pressured to drink alcohol and where women could only accept sexual comments and even groping. Doe explains incidents like "cube crawls" where other employees made sexual comments and groped female employees as well as "Jackbox" that put women in a position where they had to give "creative answers" to sexual questions.
The suit also contains further information about troubling behavior such as when leadership asked her to stay quiet about her "damaging" concerns and issues. Finally, the suit alleges that the work environment became more hostile for her as soon as she came forward and that ex-Blizzard president J. Allen Brack demoted her and lowered her pay when she asked to switch departments.
Doe included a list of demands in the suit, such as:
- A rotating human resources department to avoid conflicts of interest with management
- To retain a neutral investigation form
- To fire CEO Bobby Kotick
- Compensation for damages, medical expenses, lost earnings, punitive damages, and a restraining order
Activision Blizzard has found itself under heavy fire following the state of California's sexual harassment lawsuit in July, which has already led to significant changes like the resignation of J. Allen Brack and the renaming of Overwatch hero McGree, among others.
Xbox Game Studios head, Phil Spencer, was one of the first to denounce Activision Blizzard's culture only for Microsoft to make a move to acquire Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion in January. Blizzard most recently announced that Overwatch 2 will undergo beta testing in April.