Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women

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Balladeer
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PostActivision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Balladeer » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:11 am

Reported by Kotaku.

Activision Blizzard, the publishing giant behind everything from Call of Duty to Overwatch, is being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing over a “frat boy” workplace culture that it alleges has led to years of harassment and abuse targeting the women in its workforce.
Content warning: suicide, harassment, rape


For obvious reasons I won't repost the rest here, you can click on the article if you want the grim anecdotes.

The DFEH has brought the suit seeking an injunction that will force Activision Blizzard to not only begin complying with state workplace laws, but also address “unpaid wages, pay adjustments, back pay, and lost wages and benefits for female employees.”


Activision's Response (in part)

The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived. They were required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court. We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family. While we find this behavior to be disgraceful and unprofessional, it is unfortunately an example of how they have conducted themselves throughout the course of their investigation. It is this type of irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.


Also this is linked to in the article, from earlier in the year: Activision Blizzard Calls Policy To Make Hiring More Diverse ‘Unworkable’

For strawberry float's sake. Still, it's easier for me not to play any games from ActiBlizz than UbiSoft.

Last edited by Balladeer on Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Corazon de Leon » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:13 am

Yeah, I don’t play many of their games anyway because they’ve always been strawberry floating awful but that will now drop to zero.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by OrangeRKN » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:17 am

Horrendous, indefensible and unshocking

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Xeno » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:19 am

No shock here.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Cuttooth » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:23 am

Activision's response is just grotesque.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by rinks » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:24 am

As CEO, Kotick personally takes all the credit for the company’s financial success, so he should equally be held entirely responsible for all of this. But he won’t, obviously.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Balladeer » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:34 am

Cuttooth wrote:Activision's response is just grotesque.

Oh yeah, I probably should have quoted some of that too. Will edit it in.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Jenuall » Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:53 am

Glad I don't play any of their gooseberry fool games, what a bunch of banana splits

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by shy guy 64 » Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:30 pm

geez is that company run by a bunch of tories in holywood?

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Drumstick » Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:43 pm

I think the only game of theirs I own is Crash Nitro Kart and that was bought for me by my colleagues. So no money from me previously or in future to these chumps.

One man should not have this much power in this game. Luckily I'm not an ordinary man.
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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Zilnad » Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:47 pm

Was reading about this this morning. Sadly unsurprising and I just hope that they suffer for this. Although, based on what happened with Ubisoft, I expect the world to forget and they continue being despicable.

Started playing Overwatch last month but quickly moved away from it. So I'll just delete battlepass now and never give them another cent.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Balladeer » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:12 pm

Zilnad wrote:Was reading about this this morning. Sadly unsurprising and I just hope that they suffer for this. Although, based on what happened with Ubisoft, I expect the world to forget and they continue being despicable.

In a way I think their atrocious response, combined with the fact that's there's a lawsuit, might help here. UbiSoft got rid of (read: allowed to leave) the guilty parties, did a non-apology, and for those who wanted to forget (read: most people) that was enough. Activision haven't got the same excuse. For example, Nintendo Life didn't report on UbiSoft at all until the non-apology. Their piece on ActiBlizz just went up.

Broadly I agree though, and remain worried. I guess we'll see, and I won't buy any ActiBlizz games, in a huge departure from previous and at great personal sacrifice. :shifty:

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by OrangeRKN » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:39 pm

Spoilers: Activision-Blizzard will remain hugely profitable and powerful, and those at the top will continue to enjoy a life of great privilege without care for exploitation and abuse.

More power to anyone choosing to boycott them, of course, but don't get your hopes up.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Balladeer » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:51 pm

OrangeRKN wrote:More power to anyone choosing to boycott them, of course, but don't get your hopes up.

Even if my not buying games only takes 50p off those executives' bonuses, that's better than doing nothing. In the meantime I will continue to make a noise to make sure that everyone's aware. The alternatives are to fall into despair or stick my head in the sand.

In this case it doesn't make much of a difference if I don't buy their games, granted. Thinking more about UbiSoft here.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Jenuall » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:01 pm

I couldn't in good conscience do nothing in these situations, making a bit of a fuss and not buying their games is the least I can do as a response.

Although I don't buy their games anyway so that point is moot.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by jawaX » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:24 pm

It can be a tough choice in deciding whether to boycott a company or not. The natural reaction is to want to stop buying from them; but unfortunately this could hurt the careers and finances of the bulk of staff more than the (often wealthier) asses who behaved despicably. Many people who buy, say, Call of Duty, will not even be aware of the allegations and so will continue buying the games. Of course, the other side of the coin is that "doing nothing" can be seen as accepting the bad behaviours.

I'm not, of course, decrying those who wish to take an admirable stand by not buying the games - it may work! Although, as some folk have hinted, some of us don't buy them anyway!

I wonder if the best action could be to put pressure upon the company and those who are found guilty of bad behaviours; demonstrations both in person and via social media? Maybe there are other actions we could take to gain wider focus on this? In the modern age it feels that companies are more concerned by negative publicity than a few lost sales.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Corazon de Leon » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:34 pm

The best way to put pressure on Activision is to hurt their bottom line, Jawa. A company that sells millions of copies of Call of Duty every year isn't going to care a damn thing about picketers or social media rage unless it's followed by direct action. The second they see an impact on their bottom line and equate those lost sales with their corporate image, you'll see a very quick restructure and rebrand.

Tl;dr - do both. Tell everyone you're not going to buy an Activision game while they act so reprehensibly, and then don't buy their products until action is taken.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by Balladeer » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:35 pm

I would have poohpoohed your first paragraph, Jawa, but Alanah Pearce who has actually been there said much the same. I struggle to understand, as someone who's in a big company, how poor sales hit the ground staff more than the execs whose bonuses are surely dependant on such metrics... and of course Activision seems to lay people off all the time even when they're doing well. Maybe Kotick gives himself the same size of bonus regardless of sales in this case. Wouldn't put it past him.

Anyway you're almost certainly right that negative publicity is the biggest weapon us scrubs have here. If there are better options I'd love to read them!

...beaten by Cora saying the opposite. :lol: Both is good though, I agree there.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by BID0 » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:37 pm

People still buy Ubisoft games despite everything that's came out so I can't see this behaviour changing unfortunately

jawaX wrote:It can be a tough choice in deciding whether to boycott a company or not. The natural reaction is to want to stop buying from them; but unfortunately this could hurt the careers and finances of the bulk of staff more than the (often wealthier) asses who behaved despicably.

This has been used to defend the indefensible ad nauseam. People who work on games, movies, tv shows, whatever the industry is have came out and said they would rather people don't consume the product.

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PostRe: Activision Blizzard Sued By California Over Widespread Harassment Of Women
by site23 » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:38 pm

I think it's good to not buy Blizzard's stuff - and in general, to purchase in line with your conscience as much as you can. I do feel there's a risk to parsing stories like this one through a narrow lens. We need to change the system which disempowers employees, creating environments where abuse can thrive. One person taking a stand against one abusive company is a show of solidarity, but to effect real change requires contributing to political demands within the wider context of organised rights movements.


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