Harrassment, Sexism and worse at the heart of Blizzard?

Hello,

Unfortunately this won’t be a positive thread, and it has little directly to do with AD, other than our community’s response. I’m almost lost for words at how utterly disgusting this is, and how it’s allegedly been happening at the company behind closed doors - even within the World of Warcraft team. It’s saddening, vile and disappointing beyond measure.

I imagine this thread will be scrubbed pretty quick.

I can’t paste a direct link to the article, so I’ll put the whole thing here. The Article is from Bloomberg Law, and can be found by a quick search online.

" Video game giant Activision Blizzard Inc., maker of games including World of Warcraft and Diablo, fosters a “frat boy” culture in which female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, according to a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

A two-year investigation by the state agency found that the company discriminated against female employees in terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, assignment, promotion, and termination. Company leadership consistently failed to take steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, the agency said.

According to the complaint, filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, female employees make up around 20% of the Activision workforce, and are subjected to a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture,” including “cube crawls,” in which male employees “drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.”

The agency alleges male employees play video games during the workday while delegating responsibilities to female employees, engage in sexual banter, and joke openly about rape, among other things.

Female employees allege being held back from promotions because of the possibility they might become pregnant, being criticized for leaving to pick their children up from daycare, and being kicked out of lactation rooms so male colleagues could use the room for meetings, the complaint says.

Female employees working for the World of Warcraft team noted that male employees and supervisors would hit on them, make derogatory comments about rape, and otherwise engage in demeaning behavior, the agency alleges.

The suit also points to a female Activision employee who took her own life while on a company trip with her male supervisor. The employee had been subjected to intense sexual harassment prior to her death, including having nude photos passed around at a company holiday party, the complaint says.

The agency seeks an injunction forcing compliance with workplace protections, as well as unpaid wages, pay adjustments, back pay, and lost wages and benefits for female employees.

Causes of Action: Employment discrimination because of sex; retaliation; failure to prevent discrimination and harassment; unequal pay.

Relief: Compensatory damages; punitive damages; unpaid wages; injunctive relief; declaratory relief; equitable relief; pre-judgment interest; attorneys’ fees; costs.

Response: Activision Blizzard didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

Attorneys: Internal counsel represents the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The case is [Calif. Dep’t of Fair Emp. & Housing v. Activision Blizzard Inc.]( ps:// about bla w . com /YJw) (Link removed by me to enable posting) Cal. Super. Ct., No. 21stcv26571, 7/20/21."

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https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/activision-blizzard-sued-by-california-over-frat-boy-culture

This is the link in case anyone wants to read it, with the link to the actual lawsuit in the bottom.

Either way, very grim stuff. Considering I was on the fence after mildly enjoying 9.1, I can at least feel good about not renewing the sub now.

Very gross stuff, yuck. I do hope that none of this actually happened for the sake of the employees, but… there’s very clearly something that at least happened to cause that.

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Hi, I posted about this in the General forum as well: Activision Blizzard sued by California Department of Fair Employment

I figured it’d get more attention there.

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Yeah, I don’t necessarily think AD is the best place for this, but we’re an active forum so probably just community thoughts.

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Put it in every board, I say. This needs to be seen by as many people as possible, and it needs to be allowed to stay open so people can give their thoughts.

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Blizz’s IPs need to be handed over to a different company/companies. #PurgeBlizzard

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Already gave a small piece of my opinion in the thread on the general forums so I won’t copypaste the same thing here, other than that I’m speechless and absolutely disgusted.

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I saw the details. Some horrid stuff in there. I wonder if this is why Afrasiabi quit (it mentioned him as especially bad).

https://i.imgur.com/FZhWB5T.png

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You know it’s bad when even mmo-champion posters condemn it and tell the usual “dem woke SJWs” complainers to shut up.

Yep, same.

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This is so upsetting news, and sadly a recurring problem in the gaming industry across many different studios.

And it doesn’t fester only in the game dev culture but in the wider gamer culture as well. Personally, I’ve had to deal with sexual harassment and dude-bro culture both at work and in the gaming hobby. Left a few discord servers in the past because it was too jarring, and been for example $lut-shamed by some people in the AD community for having met up with male friends IRL without anything sexual involved.

If you see sexism and harassment, please don’t help normalize it. If it’s your friend doing it, tell them it’s not okay, don’t support it with silence.

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This is so horrific to read. The fact that an employee was harrassed to the point that she took her own life - that a higher up would share intimate pictures of her. I can’t use the words appropriate to how disgusted I am with this company on this forum.

And a reminder to anyone who wants to dismiss this by downplaying it as just some forum posts or “just accusations”, please bare in mind that this is a civil case being brought by the STATE OF CALIFORNIA. Two years of investigations went into this, not a single damn part of it is just hearsay. This isn’t “the woke sjw” crowd cancelling anyone, it’s a serious lawsuit being pushed by a government against a company that is sick to its very core. They named the World of Warcraft team in particular, this isn’t just a few random people dotted around the company. The president of the bloody company shrugged off someone in the company being actively compared to Cosby. if that doesn’t speak volumes to you then I feel immense pity for the women in your life.

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Oh goodness, I didn’t know. I’m so sorry to hear that :frowning: I’m not calling for naming and shaming here on the AD forum, but such cases absolutely have to come to light and the specific offenders be punished.

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Considering his extremely quiet exit from Blizzard…yeah, probably.

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Danuser should really put down the cuckbooks for a moment.

Having read some of the stuff in the report now, yeah, this is pretty much horrid looking.

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See the usual general forum suspects are making a fool of themselves.

'ERE WE GO, 'ERE WE GO!

Some of the described stuff is mega brutal. We’ll have to wait and see how much of it is true and/or what is the outcome.

However, am I the only one who finds it incredibly ironic that a company that has an abundance of devs with such titles as “gender expert” etc, who has pretended to be extremely female positive, has something like this happening? The same people who accuse their own players for being toxic and/or evil males have a thing like this happening among them.

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What the hell

Guess this explains a few things about WoW’s handling of female characters, if nothing else.
Curious how this ends.

Turns out sylvanas’ whole story is an allegory for abuse after all, huh?

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At first I thought it must be more general towards Activision-Blizzard as a whole and may not be specific to the Blizzard wing, but then I saw they called out the Warcraft team in particular and certain names that I recognise.

I feel like I shouldn’t be surprised by all of this, but I really am. It’s too easy to pretend that these things can’t be happening in a company that you love, despite their recent fall from grace with their games development I always hoped that they were still decent people.

This absolutely would be historic as well, this isn’t one of those: “Oh Blizzard was better before Activision”, it’s pretty clear this is endemic to the team at Blizzard core.

It’s a recurring problem in the games industry at large and I’m glad there’s a very specific light being shone on them in this instance.

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Blizz have made a statement. They deny it. I’ve only seen a summary of it; does anybody have the whole thing?