Speed Reads

'our leadership is not putting our values first'

Activision Blizzard employees blast company's 'abhorrent' response to bombshell sexual harassment lawsuit

Current and former employees of Activision Blizzard are calling out the video game company for its "abhorrent" response to a recent lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. 

The company behind World of Warcraft was recently sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which alleged it created a "breeding ground for harassment and discrimination" and fostered a "frat boy' culture." The company pushed back against the allegations, saying the lawsuit was made of up "distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past."

But almost 1,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees have now signed a letter criticizing the company's response, which included a statement from Activision executive Frances Townsend saying the lawsuit's claims are "factually incorrect, old and out of context," Bloomberg reports. The employees describe Activision Blizzard's responses as "abhorrent and insulting."

"Categorizing the claims that have been made as 'distorted, and in many cases false' creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims," the letter says. "It also casts doubt on our organizations' ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future. These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first." 

The lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleged that at the company, female employees were subjected to "numerous sexual comments and advances, groping and unwanted physical touching, and other forms of harassment," and that the company "failed to take effective" action in response to complaints. It also alleges that female employees who complained faced retaliation. 

"To claim this is a 'truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit,' while seeing so many current and former employees speak out about their own experiences regarding harassment and abuse, is simply unacceptable," the employees said. "We call for official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault."