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State Sues Video Game Giant Over 'Frat Boy' Culture

Women faced relentless sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard, suit states
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2021 11:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – According to a lawsuit from labor regulators in California, video game giant Activision Blizzard is a great place to work—for sexist men. The lawsuit accuses the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft maker of fostering "a pervasive 'frat boy' workplace culture that continues to thrive," reports the Washington Post. The lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment says women, who make up around 20% of the firm's 10,000 employees, faced sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation for raising concerns, reports Bloomberg. The lawsuit says male employees would drink "copious amounts of alcohol" and "often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees" in cubicles during events called "cube crawls." The men would "engage in banter about their sexual encounters, talk openly about female bodies, and joke about rape," the lawsuit states.

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The lawsuit says women—especially Black women—faced far more scrutiny than their male colleagues, were paid less for the same work, and were passed over for promotions, the New York Times reports. According to the lawsuit, women were reprimanded for taking time to pick up their kids from child care, and mothers were kicked out of breastfeeding rooms when men decided to use them for meetings. The lawsuit notes that a female employee took her own life while on a company trip with a male supervisor. It says she had previously faced severe sexual harassment, including having nude photos passed around at a company party. Activision Blizzard described the lawsuit's claims as "distorted, and in many cases false." The company said the employee's suicide had no bearing on the case and it was "reprehensible" to bring it into the lawsuit. (Read more Activision Blizzard stories.)

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