Content warning: this article contains reference to sexual harassment and transphobic behaviour.
The state of California has updated its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard to widen the group of people that it’s representing [via Axios].
The lawsuit was filed last month when the state of California uncovered a ‘’frat boy’ working culture within Activision Blizzard. It was claimed that this culture perpetrated the discrimination of women at the company, with regular sexual harassment and unequal pay. The abuse also allegedly extended to transgender people at the company, who later claimed that they are regularly deadnamed while at work.
Employees and fans responded by organising several walkouts and protests, both virtual and in reality. Call of Duty Vanguard developer, Sledgehammer Games, recently gave a statement on the situation, saying that, ‘harassment of any kind goes against everything we stand for as a studio’.
When the lawsuit was first filed, the state of California was suing the company on behalf of ‘employees’ at Activision Blizzard. That language has now been opened up to say ‘workers’. This is to widen the group of wronged people to temporary workers and contractors who may have also experienced discrimination at Activision Blizzard.
Activision Blizzard Denies The New Allegations
In addition, the state is now also accusing the game publisher of tampering with evidence that could prove crucial in the investigation. Axios reports that the company has stifled comment on the lawsuit by issuing NDAs that require employees to speak with the company before contacting the DFEH [Department for Fair Employment and Housing]. The company has also apparently ordered personnel staff to shred critical documents that should have been retained for the suit’s investigation.
A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard denied these allegations. ‘With regards to claims that we have destroyed information by shredding documents, those claims are not true,’ the spokesperson said. ‘We took appropriate steps to preserve information relevant to the DFEH investigation.’
The lawsuit has caused a wave of departures at Activision Blizzard. The president of Blizzard J. Allen Brack resigned from his position a short while after the news broke. The Diablo 4 Director and Lead Designer, Luis Barriga and Jesse McCree, have also left their positions at the company.
Featured Image Credit: Activision