Workers blast Activision response to lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Workers at Activision Blizzard on Monday blasted the United States (US) video game firm’s response to a slew of sexism and harassment complaints in a letter calling its reaction “abhorrent.”

Employees at the company demanded that executives “recognise the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims”, according to the letter posted at game news website Kotaku and elsewhere.

The letter had been signed by more than 2,000 employees by Monday, according to media reports.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a civil complaint last week claiming the maker of Call of Duty violated state laws by allowing a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture.”

In the latest case highlighting claims of sexism in the video game industry, the lawsuit said the company “fostered a sexist culture and paid women less than men”, according to a statement from the state agency.

Like Riot Games and Ubisoft before it, Activision Blizzard has come under scrutiny for allegedly fostering a culture of sexism. PHOTO: AGENCY

It also alleges that women “were subjected to constant sexual harassment, including groping, comments, and advances” and that executives failed to take action and instead retaliated against women who complained.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles said that women had been subjected to “cube crawls” in which inebriated male colleagues make their way through the workplace and engage in
“inappropriate behaviour.”

Activision Blizzard pushed back on the allegations, saying that the lawsuit “includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.”

“In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue,” it said.