There’s no nice way to put this: Activision Blizzard has a giant problem.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed suit against the gaming giant last week. ⚖️ The lawsuit responds to reports that the company has allowed rampant sexual harassment and a “frat boy culture’ to run unchecked.
Among other charges, the suit alleges that women have been passed over for promotions and received lower starting pay for “substantially similar work.”
In support of the suit, hundreds of employees staged a walkout to make their grievances known—streamers and esports teams went dark in solidarity with the picket line.
In a letter published last night, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick committed to “long-lasting change” by offering employee support, modified hiring practices, manager evaluations, and removal of “inappropriate” content from games and player communities.
Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Earlier this month, Ubisoft was beat down for allegations of sexual misconduct. It goes without saying that the gaming industry is still grappling with a vast cultural reckoning.
This case could likely end in a multi-billion-dollar settlement. But more importantly, it stands to bring lasting changes to the games industry. Among potential changes are more ‘lax employee contracts, the publication of salary data, and implementation of diversity and representation policies.