Blizzard exec calls sexual harassment allegations ‘extraordinarily troubling’

The president of Blizzard Leisure despatched an e-mail to employees calling allegations of sexual harassment on the firm “extraordinarily troubling.” First reported by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg, J. Allen Brack wrote that “the struggle for equality is extremely vital to me,” and that he has spent his profession combating in opposition to “bro tradition.”

The California Division of Truthful Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed go well with in opposition to Blizzard and proprietor Activision Blizzard on Tuesday, alleging a tradition of “fixed sexual harassment” existed on the firm. The grievance describes a “frat boy tradition” that included male staff consuming and sexually harassing feminine staff with out repercussions. Brack is called within the grievance as being one of many folks on the firm who was allegedly conscious and enabling of the conduct.

In response to the DFEH grievance, “male staff would play video video games throughout work, have interaction in banter about their sexual encounters, discuss overtly about feminine our bodies, and make quite a few jokes about rape.”

Girls have been subjected to quite a few sexual advances and feedback, the lawsuit states, together with groping and different types of harassment:

A feminine worker famous that random male staff would method her on Defendants’ work website and touch upon her breasts. Feminine staff working for the World of Warcraft workforce famous that male staff and supervisors would hit on them, make derogatory feedback about rape, and in any other case have interaction in demeaning conduct. This conduct was recognized to supervisors and certainly inspired by them, together with a male supervisor overtly encouraging a male subordinate to “purchase” a prostitute to treatment his unhealthy temper.

Alex Afrasiabi, the previous Senior Inventive Director of World of Warcraft at Blizzard Leisure, was permitted to interact in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions. Throughout an organization occasion (an annual conference known as Blizz Con) Afrasiabi would hit on feminine staff, telling him he wished to marry them, trying to kiss them, and placing, his arms round them. This was in plain view of different male staff, together with supervisors, who needed to intervene and pull him off feminine staff.

Activision Blizzard govt Fran Townsend despatched an e-mail to employees the identical day as Brack, in response to Schreier, however with a distinct tone, saying the lawsuit offered an “unfaithful image” of the corporate, including that it was “meritless.” Her feedback echoed an official assertion launched by the corporate that known as the DFEH lawsuit “irresponsible conduct from unaccountable State bureaucrats which can be driving lots of the State’s finest companies out of California,” and stated the go well with included “distorted, and in lots of instances, false descriptions of Blizzard’s previous.”

Activision Blizzard didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Saturday.

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