Activision Blizzard: After several reports of former employees denouncing the culture of sexism and constant harassment within Activision Blizzard, the California Department of Labor and Housing Justice (DFEH) decided to sue the producer. The decision came after an investigation by the department itself, corroborated by testimonies from people on their social networks.
The legal documents for the process are extensive and even describe the company’s work environment as a “fraternity of kids”. Jokes about the bodies of the women who worked there would be constant, with some more serious cases leading to inappropriate invitations and even unauthorized touching. The charge is that the company’s board and executives allowed all this to happen, citing names like J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard.
In addition to not taking steps to stop or lessen abuses, the DFEH accuses the producer of rarely letting any employee achieve senior positions in the company.
In the case of female employees who got a promotion at Activision Blizzard, they always received lower salaries than male colleagues in the same role, according to the DFEH investigation. And this was reflected in all positions, from the lowest to the highest.
Alex Afrasiabi is cited by name in the lawsuit. The former senior creative director of World of Warcraft is declared to be one of the biggest harassers. According to reports in the documents, Afrasiabi took advantage of BlizzCon events to harass employees, hug them and try to kiss them, all in front of other employees of the company.
The situation is especially aggravated and complex because it also involves a suicide case of one of the employees of Activision Blizzard. With respect to the victim, we will not go into detail in this specific case, it is enough to know that the DFEH’s accusation includes this event in the account of the culture of harassment that the department accuses the company of having.
In its defense, Activision Blizzard says the DFEH lawsuit includes “distorted and often false descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” The company says it fully cooperated with the DFEH during its investigation, providing all documents and data that were requested.
The company reports that it has made “tremendous efforts” to compensate its employees fairly and to create non-discriminatory working conditions. They also accuse DFEH of having irresponsible behavior for mentioning the suicide of their former employee, saying it was disrespectful and unprofessional – while also talking about the case to defend themselves.