At least 1,600 current and former Activision Blizzard employees have signed an open letter denouncing the video game publisher’s “abhorrent and insulting” response to a discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit filed last week, according to The Washington Post.
A two-year investigation by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) uncovered a “frat boy” culture throughout the Activision Blizzard company network. The case cites examples such as alleged “cube crawls,” when when male staff would drunkenly “crawl” through women’s workspaces and harass them, according to Vice.
Activision Blizzard lawyers and executives say that the suit presents “distorted, and in many cases false” information. That assertion did not sit well with employees, who say their values are “not accurately reflected” by company leadership.
“We, the undersigned, agree that the statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from [executive vice president] Frances Townsend, are abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for … We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry. Categorizing the claims that have been made as “distorted, and in many cases false” creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims. It also casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future.”
In addition, several of the company’s senior male executives have been individually accused of sexual harassment. None have faced consequences for their actions.
California’s DFEH is now seeking an injunction that would force Activision Blizzard to uphold workplace protections, which it says are “long overdue.” The video game publisher must also grant back pay, lost and unpaid earnings, and benefits for women at the company.