Activision Blizzard Sued By State Of California Over 'Frat Boy' Culture
Image: Activision Blizzard

Content warning: Please be aware that the following article and the sources linked within touch on topics including discrimination, sexual harassment and assault, and suicide.

Bloomberg Law has reported today that a lawsuit has been filed against Activision Blizzard, Inc. by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, suggesting the company has fostered a 'frat boy' culture "in which female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation".

As highlighted by the report, it's alleged that "male employees play video games during the workday while delegating responsibilities to female employees, engage in sexual banter, and joke openly about rape, among other things."

According to the 29-page filing, "executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions" and "women are subjected to 'cube crawls' in which male employees drink copious amounts of alcohol as they "crawl" their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees".

Allegations involving gender and race discrimination, derogatory comments, demeaning behaviour, and suicide are all brought up in the lawsuit. While it's suggested that complaints were made internally, including to Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, "defendants failed to take effective remedial measures in response".

The Verge has received a statement from Activision Blizzard responding to the allegations, stating "there is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind", and "in cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue". The company has also called out the lawsuit as including "distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past".

The video game giant is not the only company with alleged harassment issues in the workplace. Misconduct allegations centred around the leadership and work culture at Ubisoft caused CEO Yves Guillemot to issue a video statement of apology last year, and a recent complaint filed in France once again accuses the company co-founder of "institutional harassment".

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