Activision Blizzard has faced a new harassment lawsuit. A former female employee accused the company and its manager of blackmail, groping, and demanded that Bobby Kotick resign as CEO.
- As first reported by the Daily Mail (and spotted by GamesIndustry.biz), the lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by a woman identified as Jane Doe.
- She accused Activision Blizzard of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and failure to prevent misconduct. The plaintiff seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
- In addition to the company, the main target of the suit is its former product manager Miguel Vega. He quietly left Activision last month.
- According to the suit, Vega allegedly insulted Doe by making inappropriate comments, threatening her job if she wouldn’t consent to sex, and repeatedly groping her breasts (via Kotaku).
- The plaintiff also demanded the resignation of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, under whose watch “700 reported incidents” of harassment occurred.
What was Miguel Vega’s relationship with the plaintiff?
- The woman met Vega in 2009 or 2010, before her work at the company, when she participated in a game night with some of Activision Blizzard’s employees.
- They formed a virtual friendship, with her eventually sending him compromising photos of herself. Their relationship ended when she met her future husband in 2011.
- In 2016, Vega helped the plaintiff get independent contractor work at Activision Blizzard, and she eventually became a full-time employee as community engagement coordinator for the Player Support Department.
- According to the suit, Vega constantly belittled the woman by saying things like she was failing a “job a monkey could do”. When told that these comments were hurtful, he simply said she was too sensitive.
- Vega also allegedly often tried to kiss Doe at work, as well as groped her breasts, responding to all her rejections by saying that “one day you’ll give in.”
- In 2021, Vega allegedly blackmailed Doe by threatening to release those photos. He told her that he had to “get you to leave your husband so you can come stay with me.”
- When the woman reported Vega’s alleged revenge porn to management, he was fired the next month.
- The suit states that Doe suffered “physical pain, mental suffering, humiliation and loss of enjoyment of life.”
“We take all employee concerns seriously,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said. “When the plaintiff reported her concerns, we immediately opened an investigation, and Mr. Vega was terminated within 10 days. We have no tolerance for this kind of misconduct.”
Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard settled a federal harassment lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for $18 million. Activision later stated that there was no systematic harassment at the company… well, according to its own internal review.