Yesterday, a lawyer representing an Activision Blizzard employee held a press conference outside of Blizzard Entertainment's California headquarters, demanding more compensation for workers affected by sexual harassment and discrimination. The employee, named Christine, spoke about her firsthand experiences of misconduct and retaliation while working at the company for the last four years, claiming she experienced inappropriate touching, unwanted sexual advances, and "a frat boy culture that's detrimental to women".
When Christine complained to supervisors, she said she was told the alleged harassers were "just joking". She adds that she was told not to go to HR, and after complaining she was demoted, further harassed, and received minimal raises during her time at Blizzard.
"We are here because sexual harassment victims at Activision Blizzard have been ignored," said attorney Lisa Bloom. "They are still suffering, and it's time that they are prioritised."
Bloom went on to talk about the multiple government agencies that have investigated the company. She brought particular attention to the USA's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who took ActiBlizz to court over allegations of sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. They had agreed on a settlement which required ActiBlizz to create an $18 million fund to compensate victims like Christine. However, Bloom said that not only have the company missed legal deadlines to name a claims administrator to distribute the funds, but Bloom criticises the fund's size.
"Given that there are hundreds of victims, I think we can all agree that the $18 million number is woefully inadequate," she said.
To that end, Bloom demanded that Activision Blizzard "set up a fund in excess of $100 million" with a "streamlined, fast, fair process for victims to resolve their legal claims". She also demanded a "real apology" to those who've experienced sexual harassment and retaliation, as well as a review from a neutral third party to look into the damage the company's culture has had on employees, and fix that damage.
After the press conference, Activision Blizzard sent a statement to PC Gamer, rehashing their usual corporate statements, saying they "will not tolerate any behavior that is not aligned to our values and will hold employees accountable who fail to live up to them."
Meanwhile, CEO Bobby Kotick still remains at the company, despite multiple calls from employees and shareholders to have him removed. Workers staged a walkout demanding his resignation last month, after a Wall Street Journal report unearthed shocking allegations about his behaviour.
More ActiBlizz employees have walked out this week too, in protest of Activision laying off a dozen QA testers from Raven Software.