September 21, 2021

Activision, Facing Internal Turmoil, Grapples With #MeToo Reckoning

Other co-workers suggested she “hook up” with them, she said, and regularly commented on her appearance over the years. Ms. Welch, 52, also said she had been repeatedly passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified men.

She did not report the incidents, she said, partly because she did not want to admit to herself that her gender was a “professional liability” and she loved her work. But by 2016, she said, her doctor had persuaded her to leave because the stress was hurting her health.

Until the lawsuit came out, Ms. Welch said, she thought her experience was unique at the company. “To hear that it’s at this scale is just profoundly disappointing,” she said.

Addressing the former employees’ accusations, Activision said that “such conduct is abhorrent” and that it would investigate the claims. The company said it had distanced itself from its past and improved its culture in recent years.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which protects people from unlawful discrimination, said it did not comment on open investigations. But its lawsuit against Activision, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also spared little detail. Many of the misconduct accusations focused on a division called Blizzard, which the company merged with through a deal with Vivendi Games in 2008.

The lawsuit accused Activision of being a “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” Employees engaged in “cube crawls” in which they got drunk and acted inappropriately toward women at work cubicles, the lawsuit said.

In one case, a female employee died by suicide during a business trip because of the sexual relationship she had been having with her male supervisor, the lawsuit said. Before her death, male colleagues had shared an explicit photo of the woman, according to the lawsuit.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/29/technology/activision-walkout-metoo-call-of-duty.html

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