The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing's (DFEH) lawsuit against Activision Blizzard started in July of this year. The initial suit accused the studio of unequal pay, current and former employees at the studio of sexual harassment, and creating a toxic work culture in which women and other marginalized groups have been treated poorly and unequally.
This week, a current employee of Blizzard Entertainment who has been with the studio for four years – Christine – made new accusations against her employers. During a press conference that was live-streamed on Instagram, Christine claimed she had been subjected to unwanted sexual advances, touched inappropriately, and even received a demotion after going to HR to file a report.
“When I complained to my supervisors, I was told they were just joking and that I should get over it… I was told not to go to HR,” Christine said (as reported by GameInformer). “After I complained of the sexual harassment, I was demoted. I was then further harassed and retaliated against.” Christine adds that she has also been denied shares at the company and has received minimal raises during her four years at Blizzard. You can watch the full press conference below.
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As reported by Polygon, Activision Blizzard has since issued a statement in response to the press conference and Christine's accusations. “We are truly sorry for any victims of people whose conduct did not live up to our values… such conduct is not consistent with our standards, our expectations, and what the vast majority of our employees meet on a daily basis,” the studio's statement reads. “We are in the process of implementing significant changes and improvements to the scope, structure and efficiency of our compliance and human resources teams.”
Despite Activision Blizzard repeatedly stressing that it is reacting accordingly to the lawsuits and continued accusations, there have been allegations that Bobby Kotick knew about the company's toxic work culture and even saved the job of a former employee accused of harassment. These claims were met with the CEO saying he would only consider stepping down if he can't fix Activision Blizzard's problems.
Meanwhile, walk-offs from QA staff are being held over the Raven Software layoffs. A third of the studio's QAs – many of whom had relocated to Wisconsin – were fired, and protestors are now calling on Activision Blizzard to reinstate them. Others are pushing again for Kotick to resign, even including a right-wing group who wants him gone from the Coca-Cola board, but there seems to be no sign of his resignation.
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