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New suit against Activision Blizzard alleges ‘rampant sexism’ and retaliation

The lawsuit follows the plaintiff’s press statement last December

Graphic of the Blizzard logo on a glowing blue background Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon
Toussaint Egan is an associate curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Activision Blizzard and five named Blizzard Entertainment employees are the target of a new lawsuit, filed on behalf of an employee of the company who alleged they experienced sexual harassment and discrimination, and were retaliated against, Bloomberg Law reported Wednesday.

The employee in question, referred to as “Jane Doe” by attorney Lisa Bloom, first came forward last December to publicly speak out against what they alleged as the company’s “alcohol-soaked culture of sexual harassment” and “frat boy culture detrimental to women.”

According to the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Doe’s experiences with sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard date as far back as 2017, when they began working as a senior administrative assistant to executives in the company’s IT department.

The complaint alleges that Doe was subject to multiple sexual advances by her supervisors, including unwanted touching and kissing, probing questions about her personal life, including an invitation for casual group sex, and retaliation for complaining in writing to Blizzard’s then-president J. Allen Brack about the sexual harassment they had experienced. Doe applied for an open executive assistant position in November 2021, but after speaking at the press conference in December, says that their application was rejected.

“For years, Activision Blizzard’s open ‘frat boy’ environment fostered rampant sexism, harassment and discrimination with 700 reported incidents occurring under CEO Robert Kotick’s watch,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit seeks damages, and orders requiring Activision Blizzard to waive arbitration of sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims; to implement a rotating human resources department to prevent conflicts of interest; to retain an outside, “truly neutral” investigation firm or agency; and to implement an anti-retaliation policy, among other orders.

Wednesday’s lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal actions against Activision Blizzard dating back to last summer, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued the company for fostering a workplace culture of gender-based discrimination and “constant sexual harassment” against female employees.

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