Activision Blizzard — the company behind “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush” — is known as one of the top gaming companies in the world. Allegations of unequal pay and harassment threaten to change that perception.
The Santa Monica-based company is facing a lawsuit brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging that “female employees receive lower starting pay and also earn less than male employees for substantially similar work,” and have less opportunity at the company.
The lawsuit details a “frat-boy culture” in which men sexually harassed female workers and created a toxic workplace. Many employees have come forward with their own corroborating experiences.
The ongoing lawsuit has shaken the $70 billion gaming giant.
- Activision said California’s filing is “distorted, and in many cases false” — prompting almost 1,000 employees to sign a petition criticizing the response.
- “World of Warcraft” senior system designer Jeff Hamilton said on Twitter that “almost no work is being done” on the game “while this obscenity plays out.”
- President Allen Brack said “the behavior detailed in the allegations is completely unacceptable.”
Activision Blizzard dealt with controversy earlier this year when it was revealed that CEO Bobby Kotick is making $155 million this year, despite the company laying off around 190 employees.
The company reports Q2 earnings next Tuesday, coming off a strong Q1 when it pocketed $2.28 billion in revenue.