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A woman, referred to only as “Christine,” is calling out Activision Blizzard for the years of sexual and harassment she’s had to endure for her last four years working at the company. Based at the Irvine location, Christine held a conference on Wednesday, December 8th, describing a frat-boy culture and how supervisors standby in these toxic situations.
Many are demanding the CEO, Bobby Kotick, step down from his position. Polygon even takes note of earlier allegations, some of which claim that Kotick was aware of the allegations and kept them quiet.
According to the Orange County Register, Christine prepared and read a statement with the help of attorney Lisa Bloom and a number of supporters. “Since I’ve been employed at Blizzard I’ve been subjected to rude comments about my body, unwanted sexual advances, inappropriately touched, subjected to alcohol and abuse at team events and invited to have casual sex with my supervisors, surrounded by a frat boy culture that’s detrimental to women.”
When she first started working for Blizzard, The Verge notes, Christine described it as her “dream job.” Engadget goes further into Christine’s former excitement, citing that she was “so excited to be a part of a community that seemed to care so much about their employees.”
Reportedly, after reporting her allegations she was also demoted. Additionally, she’s “been denied [her] full profit-sharing, denied shares in the company, and… had minimal raises in the four years [she’s] been employed with Blizzard. Fighting to keep my job in this toxic workplace culture has taken a severe toll on my mental health.”
ABC7 Los Angeles reports that Christine would also “remove [her]self from work events to avoid all the sexual comments and groping.” And though Bloom has yet to officially file a claim for Christine, she also knows that the company is not new to those sorts of allegations. Lisa Bloom has worked on a number of high profile sexual assault and harassment cases, including those involving Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.
Further bolstering these allegations, after two years of investigating Activision, California’s DFEH filed a lawsuit that claims that the company fosters its toxic culture. Executives are noted to sexually harass women, and male employees to make jokes about rape while engaging in “inappropriate behavior” during “cube crawls.”
The company also had to settle with the EEOC, setting aside $18 million to aid qualifying employees dealing with inappropriate office behaviors. However, Bloom claims that this is not enough. She wants this number increased to more than $100 million, a real apology from corporate leadership, and an investigation into Blizzard’s company culture so that damages can be repaired.
Bloom has also asked for other victims to join the fight, possibly threatening a class action lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. “We don’t want Christine to stand alone. I know she does not stand alone,” she exclaims.
Blizzard has since responded, explaining that the allegations don’t line up with their standards and expectations. “There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct, harassment or retaliation of any kind. We will not tolerate any behavior that is not aligned to our values and will hold employees accountable who fail to live up to them.” In addition, the company claims to be working on improvements for the HR teams.
Despite these alleged changes within the company, some employees reportedly told Christine that nothing illegal had actually happened. According to Kotaku, she was told not to go to Human Resources at all.
Apparently, Activision Blizzard has received more than 500 reports of harassment and sexual assault, as well as other innappropriate behaviors. One female employee is even reported to have died of suicide because of her sexual relationship with a male supervisor. It’s been alleged that, before her death, male colleagues had shared explicit pictures of the woman.
Thankfully, a number of workers are standing together to force the company to make real changes toward the environment and office cultures. The vast majority appear to be against the widespread culture of harassment and sexism across the company.