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30 Jul 2021

Wesley Yin-Poole, Eurogamer

California sues Activision Blizzard over alleged culture of constant sexual harassment

"Blizzard developers criticise corporate statements on recent allegations", 24 Jul 2021

A raft of Blizzard developers have taken to social media to criticise reported corporate statements issued on the recent allegations made against the company.

This week, the State of California sued Activision Blizzard over what it alleges to be a "frat boy" culture that created "a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women".

The lawsuit alleges a culture of "constant sexual harassment", mainly at Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.

Activision Blizzard has strongly denied the accusations, calling many of the claims distorted or false.

Last night, Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier tweeted the text of an email sent by current Blizzard president J. Allen Brack to staff addressing the allegations from the lawsuit, calling them "extremely troubling". In the email, Brack commits to meet with staff to answer their questions and "discuss how we can move forward"...

Brack's email strikes a markedly different tone than that of Activision Blizzard's public statement on the lawsuit...

"A recently-filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories - some from more than a decade ago," Townsend reportedly says in the email.

"We work at a company that truly values equality and fairness," she continues. "Rest assured that leadership is committed to continuing to maintain a safe, fair, and inclusive workplace. We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees."...

Lawyers for the State of California said complaints about the reported harassment, discrimination, and retaliation detailed in the lawsuit were allegedly made to human resources personnel and executives, including to Blizzard boss J. Allen Brack, but "Defendants failed to take effective remedial measures in response to these complaints"...