Business & Technology

California sues Activision Blizzard alleging harassment, sexism

(AFP)

Video game giant Activision Blizzard is being hit with a slew of allegations of sexism, discrimination and harassment of female employees in a lawsuit filed by a California state agency.

The state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a civil complaint Wednesday claiming the maker of “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” violated state laws by allowing a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture.”

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In the latest case highlighting claims of sexism in the video game industry, the lawsuit said the California company “fostered a sexist culture and paid women less than men despite women doing substantially similar work, assigned women to lower level jobs and promoted them at slower rates than men,” according to a statement from the state agency.

It also alleges that women “were subjected to constant sexual harassment, including groping, comments, and advances” and that executives knew of this but failed to take action, and instead retaliated against women who complained.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles said that women had been subject to “cube crawls” in which inebriated male colleagues work their way through the workplace and engage in “inappropriate behavior.”

One female employee committed suicide during a business trip with a male employee who had brought sex gadgets on the mission, according to the complaint.

The company did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

Similar allegations have been made against France-based video game giant Ubisoft as well as US-based Riot Games, maker of “League of Legends.”

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