Activision Blizzard facing new sexual harassment lawsuit

More accusations have been made against the Call of Duty maker

Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard is facing another sexual harassment suit, just over one year after reports surfaced of a toxic “frat boy” work culture within the company.

The new suit, filed in Los Angeles by an unnamed former female employee, specifically names both Activision Blizzard and her former manager, Miguel Vega. The employee alleges that Vega repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances while threatening to fire her and release a compromising photo if she didn’t comply. Activision Blizzard, meanwhile, is accused of failing to address her concerns when raised while also fostering a toxic work culture that “emboldened” Vega:

Activision Blizzard’s failure to curb sexist and harassing conduct emboldened manager Miguel Vega to abuse, belittle and insult Ms. Doe by making comments to her about oral sex, masturbation and orgasms, threatening her job if she would not consent to sex, mocking her breasts, and commenting on other female employees’ attractiveness. Mr. Vega also repeatedly threatened to expose a compromising photo of Ms. Doe.

The plaintiff says she first met Vega between 2009 and 2010 before working at Activision Blizzard, during which time they “formed a virtual friendship and she regrettably sent him compromising photos of herself.” She says they ended their friendship in 2011 once she met her husband, but reconnected in 2016 as Vega helped her get a job as an independent contractor at Activision Blizzard. It was between 2016 and 2021, she says, that he made “unwanted sexual advances” towards her:

At work, Mr. Vega repeatedly groped Ms. Doe’s breasts around a dozen times. On each occasion, he would squeeze, grab or poke her breasts and she immediately recoiled at these unwanted advances. He often attempted to kiss her at work. All of Mr. Vega’s sexual advances upon Ms. Doe were unwelcomed. After each time she rejected him, he’d assure her that “one day it’ll happen” or “one day you’ll give in.”

She says she first reported him to Activision Blizzard HR in 2017, at which time the company “did nothing.” Vega’s misconduct and her reporting both allegedly continued until August 2021, when he was reported to her manager and ultimately terminated in September 2021. In a statement to Daily Mail, Activision Blizzard claimed it “immediately” opened an investigation upon hearing of the employee’s concerns and terminated Vega “within 10 days,” adding that it has “no tolerance for this kind of misconduct.”

Ultimately, the woman says the whole experience impacted her job performance and left her “humiliated, depressed and anxious.” She is seeking damages and lost pay, as well as an order to require Activision Blizzard to end its arbitration policies for sexual harassment and gender-discrimination claims.

As mentioned, this is the latest in a long line of allegations against Activision Blizzard. The gaming giant was first accused in a July 2021 lawsuit of fostering a toxic “frat boy” culture at its U.S. studios in which many employees, particularly women, dealt with harassment, gender discrimination, unequal pay and other forms of mistreatment. Bobby Kotick, the company’s CEO, has specifically come under fire for allegedly working to cover up these reports and has faced calls to resign, yet he still leads the company.

It remains to be seen what, if anything, might change at Activision Blizzard, especially amid Microsoft’s pending acquisition of the company.

Via: Daily Mail