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Activision agrees to pay harassment victims in face of EEOC suit

Protesters hold signs on a sidewalk
Several hundred Activision Blizzard employees walked out in July over the company’s response to a lawsuit highlighting alleged harassment, inequality and more.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Activision Blizzard Inc., the video game giant, agreed to create an $18-million fund for victims of discrimination or harassment after it was sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over its workplace practices.

The company also announced Monday the creation of an initiative to develop software tools and training programs to improve workplace policies and practices for employers across the technology industry.

“There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences,” Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in a statement announcing the settlement. “I am sorry that anyone had to experience inappropriate conduct, and I remain unwavering in my commitment to make Activision Blizzard one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces.”

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Activision Blizzard, which makes games including “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” has been embroiled in controversy over its treatment of employees.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision in July, alleging the company fostered a “frat boy” culture in which female employees were subjected to sexual harassment, pay inequality and retaliation.

Days later, an employee walkout drew hundreds of demonstrators to the sidewalks of the company’s corporate campus in Irvine. More than 1,600 current employees signed a letter to management, saying they found the company’s response to the lawsuit and its allegations “abhorrent and insulting.”

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into Activision Blizzard over the company’s response to and disclosure of harassment and discrimination claims.


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