Activision Blizzard ousts 20 employees in sex harassment probe

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Activision Blizzard has ousted 20 employees and disciplined 20 much arsenic portion of an interior probe into allegations of enactment harassment and discrimination, the institution said. 

The developer down games similar “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty” is besides adding 19 employees to its morals and compliance team, according to a letter enforcement vice president Frances Townsend sent to employees Wednesday. 

The quality comes months aft the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing successful July brought an explosive ongoing suit against Activision Blizzard, accusing the institution of fostering a “frat bro” culture afloat of rape jokes, crude comments and groping that drove a pistillate worker to suicide. 

The institution initially came retired swinging, with Townsend accusing prosecutors of giving “a distorted and untrue representation of our company, including factually incorrect, aged and retired of discourse stories.” 

That determination angered galore employees, who slammed Activision Blizzard’s “abhorrent” response to the suit and planned to locomotion retired from enactment successful protest. CEO Bobby Kotick past admitted the institution had been “tone deaf” and vowed to cleanable up the developer’s culture. 

Now, the institution is pointing to the 20 worker “exits” — arsenic good arsenic the departure of 2 executives successful August — arsenic grounds that it’s cleaning up its act. 

Activision Blizzard enforcement  vice president   Frances TownsendActivision Blizzard enforcement vice president Frances Townsend sought to guarantee employees that the institution is cleaning up its act.AFP via Getty Images

“We are moving tirelessly to guarantee that, moving forward, this is simply a spot wherever radical are not lone heard, but empowered,” Townsend, a erstwhile Bush medication homeland information official, assured employees connected Tuesday. “There is nary spot for harassment, discrimination, oregon retaliation successful this company.”

Townsend told the Financial Times that the fired employees included respective crippled developers and immoderate supervisors. None of the firings were from elder absorption oregon the company’s board, she told the paper.

Most of the misconduct progressive intoxicant and took spot astatine off-site events, Townsend added.

A protestation  by Activision Blizzard employees.Activision Blizzard employees slammed the company’s archetypal effect to intersexual harassment claims successful July.Bloomberg via Getty Images

On the aforesaid time Townsend told employees astir the departing employees, Activision Blizzard besides fired a ineligible salvo against the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

In a tribunal filing requesting other clip to investigate, the video crippled developer said that the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is being represented by 2 attorneys who antecedently worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a national bureau that reached a abstracted $18 cardinal settlement with the institution successful September. 

Activision Blizzard claimed that these lawyers moving for some agencies violates the California Bar’s struggle of involvement rules — and argued they should beryllium barred from moving connected the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s suit. The institution besides raised the thought of dismissing the suit altogether. 

Activision Blizzard protestActivision Blizzard fired a ineligible salvo against the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

“Violation of these rules could pb to the disqualification not lone of the 2 attorneys astatine issue, but of the full radical of [Department of Fair Employment and Housing] attorneys with whom they person worked,” attorneys for Activision Blizzard wrote. “It besides calls into question the integrity of the underlying probe itself.”

A justice is acceptable to see Activision Blizzard’s claims successful a proceeding connected Wednesday. 

Most of the misconduct progressive   intoxicant  and took spot  astatine  off-site events, Townsend told the Financial Times.Most of the misconduct progressive intoxicant and took spot astatine off-site events, Townsend told the Financial Times.AFP via Getty Images