Activision Blizzard, the SoCal video game giant behind “World of Warcraft,” “Overwatch,” and “Diablo,” has been ordered by a judge to pay an $18 million settlement in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, according to CBS News.
“I’ve had men in these leadership roles put their hands on my lap, come from behind me and tightly hug me from behind,” said a claimant, identified only as Christine.
Two of Activision’s accusers shared their experiences with the company on Tuesday, in the presence of their attorney, Lisa Bloom.
“The same people who told me I was being too sensitive was the same person who would put their hands on me, repeatedly, without my consent,” said another claimant, identified as Arial.
Arial added that the “accused would often brag that going to HR would be pointless” and that her “word meant nothing.”
Bloom is yet to file a separate lawsuit against the company, though she noted the payout doesn’t adequately compensate for what the female employees had to endure.
“The number of is woefully inadequate. So, we’ve seen other cases of massive harassment and the victims’ compensation is in the hundreds of millions of dollars and that’s what should be the case here,” Bloom said.
She also demanded that Activision stopped forcing victims into arbitration and preventing them from having their day in court.
Activision Blizzard has since released a statement regarding the $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“The agreement we reached with the EEOC last year reflected our unwavering commitment to ensure a safe and equitable working environment for all employees,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “Our goal is to make Activision Blizzard a model for the industry, and we will continue to focus on eliminating harassment and discrimination from our workplace. The court’s approval of this settlement is an important step in ensuring that our employees have mechanisms for recourse if they experienced any form of harassment or retaliation.”
The lawsuit was initially filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July 2021 and accused the company of creating a “frat boy” culture that harbored sexual harassment, lower pay for equal work, and suppression of anyone who chose to speak up.
The case, first reported by Bloomberg, alleged a company environment of “cube crawls,” where male employees “drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.