Activision Blizzard’s lawsuit has enabled more people to stand up and tell their stories.
Consequences from Activision BlizzardThe lawsuit with California continues. After the company retracted its shameful initial reaction, other incidents came to light, painting a more grim picture.
A new wave of reports discusses some fairly public practices that women and marginalized groups have been dealing with for years. For those familiar with company culture, the allegations in the lawsuit are not surprising.
Sources told IGN that many long-term senior positions are “unreachable,” especially those responsible for profitable games, such as World of Warcraft. Former senior creative director of Blizzard, Alex Afrasiabi (Alex Afrasiabi) is one of the people responsible for fostering a culture of harassment. In Kotaku’s report on his “Cosby Suite” (named after the suspected rapist Bill Cosby), Afrasiabi was also named an informal BlizzCon social event held in the hotel suite.
Activision quietly fired Afrasiabi in mid-2020, and has only now revealed that his firing was the result of an internal investigation, which revealed most of it.
The IGN report also talked about Blizzard’s drinking culture, which forced many women to skip office gatherings, and some of them were improperly contacted by male colleagues. A room in Blizzard’s office is dedicated to breastfeeding and has no locks. A source said that men sometimes walk into the room and stare.
“There is no way to lock the door. They just stare at me, and I have to scream at them to leave,” the person said. According to IGN, there is now a lock on the door of the breastfeeding room.
According to a Waypoint report, in 2018, an Activision IT employee secretly installed a camera in the unisex bathroom of the Minnesota office to photograph and monitor employees. The IT employee later admitted to “interfering with privacy” and their sentence was suspended.
Another Waypoint report revealed another incident, one at a job fair at the 2015 Cyber Security Conference. Security researcher Emily Mitchell was looking for a job at the time. She approached the Blizzard booth and asked about penetration testing positions.
Penetration testing is the process of assessing the security of the system by trying to crack the system to find any potential vulnerabilities. A Blizzard employee asked Mitchell humiliating questions, such as whether she attended a meeting with her boyfriend, while another employee asked her if she was lost. Blizzard employees continued to make inappropriate comments, including asking her if she “likes to be penetrated” and other unprofessional comments.
Two years after the incident, Blizzard wanted to hire a security research company. Blizzard didn’t know that Mitchell was the company’s chief operating officer at the time, and she decided to tell the company’s CEO Jeremy Gosny about her experience. This prompted Gosney to make a harsh response to Blizzard. He shared Blizzard’s name on Twitter at the time.
Among other things, Gosney’s email contains three regulations that Blizzard needs to complete before the two companies cooperate. The list includes a 50% “misogynistic tax”, the proceeds of which will be donated to charities that help women in technology, Blizzard sponsors women’s computer conferences, and a formal apology to Mitchell.
At the same time, according to Bloomberg News, Activision Blizzard’s response to the employee strike last week was to organize listening meetings for employees, but management has not directly met their requirements. Some of their requirements include hiring more diverse candidates, providing salary data to all employees, and terminating mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts.
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