From toddlers to women in their 70s, the gaming world has evolved and grown exponentially, encompassing all ages, races, genders, and backgrounds. Gaming has become more than a simple pass time, but an entirely unique fanbase specific to each video game. Beyond the players, the employees of said video games also have a love for them. Begging the question, “Who said video games are only for boys?”
Activision, the largest independent video game developer in the United States, known for its most popular games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, has been slapped with discrimination claims. This video game giant is fighting controversy over sexual harassment and sexism towards their female employees. Furthermore, these female employees are facing unequal pay, assignment, promotion, and a myriad of various discriminatory practices and procedures regarding the same.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) found that 20% of the Activision Blizzard’s workforce are female, with having less of them reaching top roles earning less salary when compared to their male counterparts. The DFEH also stated that the company’s leadership, “failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.”
As mentioned in the complaint of the lawsuit, being a predominantly male dominated industry, this “frat-bro” culture was inevitable, yet Activision was somehow deaf, mute, and blind to it. As these allegations continued to rise, the company just now started to take steps to improve its workplace environment. CEO Bobby Kotick has hired a law firm to aid in the investigation and conduct a review of company policies. Kotick stated, “Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated,” followed by, “We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.”
Roughly 2,600 current and former employees have petitioned a letter showing their distaste and disapproval of the way Activision has handled these allegations. Activision Blizzard Inc. focused on beating Wall Street projections. They totaled $0.91 per share estimating $1.92 billion, adjusted from their initial projections of $0.75 per share or $1.89 billion. Blizzard Entertainment, as of 2020, accounted for 25% of Activision’s $8.01 billion in sales. And, according to the DFEH, these lawsuit allegations of a discriminatory culture were directed at Blizzard Entertainment. The lawsuit continues to state, “Female employees working for the World of Warcraft team noted that male employees and supervisors would hit on them, make derogatory comments about rape, and otherwise engage in demeaning behavior.” These accusations have been denied and avoided by the business for years but are now coming to light once again.