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Another Activision Blizzard worker files sexual harassment lawsuit

The suit alleges gender discrimination, battery, and revenge porn

 In this photo illustration, a silhouetted woman holds a smartphone with the Activision Blizzard, Inc. logo displayed on the screen. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Another Activision Blizzard employee is alleging in a new lawsuit that the company failed to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The complaint, filed last week in the Los Angeles Superior Court, details alleged repeated sexual advances and harassment from an Activision Blizzard manager — who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit — as well as revenge porn and sexual battery. Daily Mail first reported the lawsuit.

The Activision Blizzard employee, who is named as Jane Doe in court documents, details her experience with manager Miguel Vega throughout the 24-page complaint. She’s represented by high-profile lawyer Lisa Bloom, who said Tuesday on Twitter that her firm, The Bloom Firm, is representing eight women with sexual harassment claims against Activision Blizzard. Bloom held a press conference in December after filing a lawsuit on behalf of a worker named Christine. Bloom has said each of these eight women will file their own individual lawsuits “to make sure they’re fairly compensated,” according to dot.LA.

“Activision Blizzard is a massive video game company with a massive sexual harassment problem,” lawyers for Doe allege in the lawsuit. Lawyers described Doe’s incidents in detail:

Activision Blizzard’s failure to curb sexist and harassing conduct emboldened manager Miguel Vega to abuse, belittle and insult Ms. Doe by making comments to her about oral sex, masturbation and orgasms, threatening her job if she would not consent to sex, mocking her breasts, and commenting on other female employees’ attractiveness. Mr. Vega also repeatedly threatened to expose a compromising photo of Ms. Doe.

An Activision Blizzard spokesman said in a statement to Polygon that the company “take[s] all employee concerns seriously.” They continued:

When the plaintiff reported her concerns, we immediately opened an investigation, and Mr. Vega was terminated within 10 days. We have no tolerance for this kind of misconduct.

Doe and others reportedly brought the outlined harassment to Activision Blizzard’s human resources department multiple times; Vega was fired in September 2021 after years of alleged sexual harassment and misconduct. Doe said the repeated, “unwanted sexual advances” impacted her job performance and left her “humiliated, depressed and anxious.”

Doe and her lawyers are looking for damages and lost pay to be determined through a trial, as well as an order requiring Activision Blizzard to drop its arbitration policies for sexual harassment and gender-discrimination claims.

Activision Blizzard has faced a number of sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits following a suit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in July 2021. The DFEH lawsuit names CEO Bobby Kotick and several other executives as knowing of and enabling this misconduct. A Wall Street Journal report from November described those allegations in detail, reporting that Kotick knew of rape allegations at the company and kept them quiet. A lawsuit led by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was settled for $18 million in 2021.

In a second statement, the Activision Blizzard spokesman said the company has “vigorously denied the [DFEH] allegations.” They continued:

No court has ever found the DFEH’s allegations to be true. The DFEH filed its allegations without completing its investigation and failed to follow its own investigative requirements and conciliation procedures. The Company has vigorously denied the allegations and its commitment has always been to a workplace that is inclusive and safe.

Workers at the company have pushed back, leading to multiple walkouts and calls for Kotick to resign. With the last walkout in July 2022, workers pushed for Activision Blizzard to “end gender inequity at the company.”

Beyond these lawsuits, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft are still hoping to convince government regulators that its $68.7 billion merger deal is not anti-competitive.

Update: This story has been updated to include statements from an Activision Blizzard spokesperson.