Blizzard Entertainment terminated former World of Warcraft creative director Alex Afrasiabi, a developer named in a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard who was alleged to have “engage[d] in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions,” in 2020 after an internal investigation, according to a statement the studio gave to Kotaku.
News of Afrasiabi’s firing in the summer of 2020 is part of a larger Kotaku report on the so-called Cosby Suite at BlizzCon mentioned in the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. According to court documents, “Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite was nicknamed the ‘Crosby Suite’ [sic] after alleged rapist Bill Crosby [sic].”
Kotaku’s report, which includes photos of and text messages about the Cosby Suite posted on social media in 2013, shows multiple current and former Blizzard Entertainment employees posing in a hotel room with a framed photo of Bill Cosby, who had by that point been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women for decades.
An employee brought the 2013 events to Blizzard’s attention in June 2020, according to the statement Blizzard provided to Kotaku. Blizzard said it had already terminated Afrasiabi by then, as a result of a separate investigation.
Go read the full report on Kotaku for additional details.
California regulators sued Activision Blizzard last week after a two-year investigation into the company. The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard enabled a “frat boy” workplace culture that subjects its female employees to gender-based discrimination and “constant sexual harassment.” Top executives, including Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, are named in the lawsuit for knowing about and enabling this behavior.
The lawsuit opened the floodgates on social media, where current and former Activision Blizzard employees have told stories of harassment, discrimination, and other inappropriate behavior at the company.
Multiple ex-Blizzard employees, including former executives such as senior vice president Chris Metzen and president and co-founder Mike Morhaime, have spoken out over the past week about the allegations made in the lawsuit. In statements published on social media, Metzen and Morhaime apologized for their roles in creating the company’s so-called frat boy culture. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized to employees Tuesday for the company’s initial response to allegations of workplace misconduct, calling it “tone deaf.”
Activision Blizzard employees protested the company’s response to the suit and demanded changes to corporate culture as part of an organized walkout from work on Wednesday.