Activision Blizzard is being sued over a toxic culture by the state of California

Activision Blizzard is being sued over a toxic culture by the state of California

This story about being held accountable, boiled down, in 1:54 minutes.

What's the fuss?

A 2 year investigation has led to a major lawsuit filed against one of largest video game developers in the world for their predatory work place culture. With such toxic behaviour too common in the game development world, it's about time these guilty firms become accountable.

The situation

Activision Blizzard, the studio behind the largest gaming franchises such as Call of Duty, has been mired in controversy. 

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has formally accused Activision Blizzard of discriminating against female employees and fostering a "frat boy" culture. 

  • Female employees have reportedly been regularly subjected to sexual harassment, unequal pay, and are unfavourably viewed for promotions compared to men.
  • The lawsuit also highlights a certain incident where a female employee took her own life while on a company trip after suffering severe sexual misconduct by a male supervisor.
  • The lawsuit is calling for an injunction that would force the company to comply with workplace protections and fulfill unpaid wages and benefits for female employees.

Update (07/23/2021): Activision Blizzard has released an official statement denying the allegations.

Boiling it down

Worldwide, only 24% of video game developers are women as of 2019.

  • Such gender disparity is why many consider the industry to be a "boy's club", leading to the almost consequence-free mistreatment of marginalized employees by their male counterparts.
  • However, a recent census from the UK shows that an increasing number of game developers are identifying as women, but still lags behind men by a wide margin.

It's not just Activision Blizzard that have been under fire from the law. 

  • Other big gaming companies have been sued for similar misdemeanors and have settled for millions in support of female employees.
  • These companies have taken steps, such as hiring a Chief People Officer, to mitigate damage from bad PR and hopefully pull the industry in a more inclusive direction.

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