California is suing a game publishing studio over it’s alleged culture of misogyny and sexual harassment.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for violating the state’s Equal Pay Act and Fair Housing and Employment Act. According to DFEH, Blizzard intentionally hired women for lower-paid and lower-opportunity positions, while earning less than their male counterparts for “substantially similar work.”
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Previous female employees described the environment as being akin to a ‘frat house’ and described inappropriate locker-room banter among men. The lawsuit explains office games including “cube crawls” where men would “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.”
DFEH claims women never stood up for themselves because 80 percent of Blizzard employees were male, and those who reported sexual harassment were allegedly laid off. A company spokesperson suggested the lawsuit made “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.”
Continuing, the spokesperson wrote, “Over the past several years and continuing since the initial investigation started, we’ve made significant changes to address company culture and reflect more diversity within our leadership teams.” The studio has produced some of the most popular video games, including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.