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Content warning: rape and sexual abuse
More and more disturbing stories are arising from the investigation of Activision’s offices, and the Wall Street Journal has reported that an employee who had been sexually assaulted by their supervisor was told to “be more positive” by the human-resources staff.
The claims about the “pervasive frat boy workplace culture” inside Activision ranges from racist harassment, to lower starting pay for women who shared the same position as men, to drunken “cube crawls” where men would attempt to flirt with their women colleagues while they worked.
The lawsuit levied by the state of California also stated that women were passed over for promotions in case they became pregnant, mothers were chastised for leaving the office to pick up children from school, and shockingly, they would be removed from lactation rooms so that men could use that space for meetings.
In 2016 and 2017, a Sledgehammer Games employee had been attacked by her supervisor when she had been “pressured to consume too much alcohol in the office and at work events.” After the second assault, she filed a police report as well as taking it to the studio’s human-resources department.
“HR told her to reframe the situation in a different light to be more positive after being sexually assaulted by her supervisor,” said Grind. “The lawyer was saying that this female employee tried to complain after being raped and was passed off, was not taken seriously.”
The email from the employee’s lawyer was sent in 2018 and Activision elected to settle the case out of court. Kotick, however, did not alert the board of directors about these events nor the settlement. The CEO is currently under investigation over whether or not he was aware of the allegations in the lawsuits and must hand over emails and documents that contain any evidence of these events.
“Mr. Kotick would not have been informed of every report of misconduct at every Activision Blizzard company, nor would he reasonably be expected to have been updated on all personnel issues,” said spokesperson Helaine Klasky. Moreover, Kotick has decried the Wall Street Journal article in an internal video to employees, saying “anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming and inclusive workplace doesn't really appreciate how important this is to me.”
At the time of writing, over a thousand employees have called for Kotick to resign from his position through this petition.
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