A current Activision Blizzard employee came forward in a press conference yesterday with her claims of the alleged discrimination she experienced at the company, including sexual harassment and demotion. As first reported by Polygon, the employee, named Christine, spoke publicly in a press conference with her lawyer Lisa Bloom, who livestreamed the conference on Instagram, outside of Blizzard’s Irvine, California headquarters.
Christine, who has worked at Blizzard for four years, said she experienced the alleged “frat boy culture detrimental to women,” claiming that co-workers and supervisors made rude, degrading comments about her body, made unwanted sexual advances towards her, touched her inappropriately, and at one point, a supervisor propositioned her for sex. She said when she filed her sexual harassment complaint to human resources against objections from the managers, she got demoted. After that, she continued receiving the onslaught of harassment and retaliation, including being denied her full-profit sharing.
Bloom and Christine have outlined a series of demands for Activision Blizzard, including a “streamlined, fast, [and] fair process for victims,” along with an expansive victim compensation fund. They also asked for a neutral third party to review discrimination in lieu of a giant law firm and an apology to Christine and other victims forced to live with the fallout of sexual harassment.
Bloom is known for representing women in high-profile sexual assault and harassment cases. These cases include those against Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and comedian Bill Cosby, whom some Activision Blizzard employees had a hotel suite named after at BlizzCon 2013. However, she was also an advisor to Harvey Weinstein in his sexual assault case at the height of the #MeToo movement.
Activision Blizzard gave Polygon a statement following the press conference, saying it appreciates the courage of past and present employees coming forward with reports of misconduct and that such behavior does not line up with the company’s values.
Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July 2021 after a two-year investigation into the company’s alleged “frat boy culture,” including a claim that an employee took her own life as a result of the harassment. Employees and shareholders have been calling for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign following a report from The Wall Street Journal alleging that he acknowledged the misconduct claims and participated in it, but covered it up.