Women in gaming industry have long since been struggling with rampant sexism, discriminations, inequality of pay and even sexual harassment. Several giants in the industry have in the past come under fire and now the latest is the case of Activision Blizzard. The company is on the receiving end of censure since California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against their “frat house” like work culture.
The investigation that went on for over two years listed several top-level executives along with the Activision Blizzard CEO, J. Allen Brack for enabling and perpetrating the persistence of discrimination in the workplace. Following the lawsuit, the company refuted the charges. However, this elicited violent backlash and employees staged a walkout on July 28. Following these incidents, fresh accusations have been brought up against the company. And they are shocking, disturbing and it is completely outrageous that the company did not take any measures to address them and instead chose to look the other way.
It disturbs us to even imagine what they must have gone through, working in such a hostile workplace environment. The details of these stories contain descriptions of sexual harassment and therefore we are putting a preface warning for the same.
While gaming communities all across the world are coming together in support of the victims who had to go through unimaginable horrors, several accounts are surfacing on some of the challenges that the female employees at Activision Blizzard have to go through on an almost daily basis. In a detailed report that was published by IGN, several accounts were brought to light. Taking the case of the World of Warcraft team as an instance, an employee stated that since the game made a load of money, those at the top in the team could get away with a lot, making that “a breeding ground” for such inappropriate behaviour.
Alex Afrasiabi, the former Senior Creative Director, for World of Warcraft, was fired in 2020. Afrasiabi was known for his “blatant sexual harassment“ and faced little to no repercussions, as per employees at the company. According to a source, the consequences he faced for his actions were a mere “slap on the wrist”.
Women have also reported rampant sexual harassment and misconduct in company gatherings, holiday parties and drinking events on campus. Several even chose to stay away from them. To factor into it was the outrageous “drinking culture” at the company which added to the woes.
Fresh Accusations Levelled Against Activision Blizzard
A former employee, who has since left Activision Blizzard stated that the breast-feeding rooms at the company, had no locks. Men would walk in with no regard for the modesty of their female colleagues and stand there while they former, shouted, requested and pleaded for them to leave. It has since then been reported that locks have now been installed in the rooms.
As the accusations mount, it is horrifying to imagine that the victims had to go back to the same place where their modesty kept getting outraged day in and day out. IN this day and age, where everyone is speaking about equality above all else, such incidents make us realise that the reality is far from it. It can only be hoped that Activision Blizzard takes action to amend its ways and address these issues that plague their work culture. A safe workplace is a right that everyone deserves and it is way past time that Activision Blizzard looks to make it a reality.