Activision Blizzard, the maker of massive titles such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Candy Crush, is the subject of a lawsuit filed in July by California that alleges that the company has fostered a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ workplace culture” with “constant sexual harassment” of its female employees. The civil suit, filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after a two-year investigation, includes claims for gender-based discrimination, unequal pay, sexual harassment, and other violations of the state’s civil rights laws.
The lawsuit has kicked off a reckoning within Activision Blizzard and across the game industry, with hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees participating in a walkout at the end of July to protest the company’s initial response to the lawsuit and demand changes from leadership. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick eventually issued a new statement calling the company’s original comments “tone deaf” and pledging to implement sweeping changes. One of the first major ones came on Aug. 3, when Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack — who is named in the lawsuit as an enabler of an alleged harasser at the studio — stepped down from his role.
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