Activision Blizzard Sued By California Government Over 'Frat Boy' Culture
Warning: Some of the accounts mentioned in this article are of a sensitive nature.
Gaming publisher giants Activision Blizzard are being sued for inhabiting a "frat boy" culture in their workplaces, leading to women reportedly being sexually harassed and given unequal pay.
The publishers behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and many more, have been presented with a lawsuit from the California Government in which a two-year investigation into the company has reportedly found a misogynistic attitude and reports of sexual assault in the workplace.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has claimed that the company have been subject to routine harassment including “cube crawls,” - a common affair in which their male employees get intoxicated and "crawl" through the female work cubicles to engage in “inappropriate behaviour."
"Male employees proudly come into work hungover, play video games for long periods of time during work while delegating their responsibilities to female employees, engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape," the report continued.
A specific example that has been outlined in the report says that a female employee took her own life while on a company trip, 'due to a sexual relationship she was having with her male supervisor'.
The lawsuit claims that the woman was on a company trip when she took her own life. According to the suit, she was on the trip with a male supervisor, who was found to have a buttplug and lubricant in his luggage.
Further details listed that the same woman had previously had intimate pictures circulate at a work party.
Activision Blizzard has also been accused of giving female workers "lower level roles", denying gender-equal pay, and overlooking women for promotions "in favour of male counterparts who lacked the same experience or qualifications but who were friends with the male head of the unit."
One employee has been alleged to delegate his responsibilities to female subordinates, so he could play Call of Duty.
The publishing moguls have since released a statement to Bloomberg, where they have described the claims as "distorted" and "false".
The spokesperson has claimed that they have been fully cooperative in the investigations, and the DFEH have "rushed to file an inaccurate" complaint.
Women take up 20% of Activision's workforce, and only a minute fraction of these are being promoted to higher positions.
The lawsuit is similar to claims filed against the likes of Ubisoft and Riot Games. The developers of League of Legends and VALORANT originally agreed to a $10 million settlement, spread across over 1,000 employees in the company.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. The CALMzone offers support to anyone who needs it.
The helpline and web chat service are open 5pm to midnight, every day of the year. Nationwide: 0800 58 58 58; London: 0808 802 58; Webchat: www.thecalmzone.net/get-help
You can contact the Samaritans on a Freephone number – 116 123. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org