[Content warning: This story contains details of sexual harassment and blackmail.]
Updated on Oct. 14 with a statement from Activision Blizzard.
Another former Activision Blizzard employee has come forward with a lawsuit over sexual harassment and abuse allegations, says the Daily Mail. The suit is taking place in the Los Angeles Super Court, where a woman identified as Jane Doe has accused product manager Miguel Vega of groping, other unwanted sexual advances, verbal abuse, gender discrimination, and blackmail. Doe said in the case, “Activision Blizzard is a massive video game company with a massive sexual harassment problem.”
After forming an online friendship with Vega, which she broke off before joining the company, Doe began working for Activision-Blizzard. She alleged that once she joined, Vega would frequently grope her, attempt to kiss her, and make other unwanted sexual advances that she rejected. He also made sexist comments and said she was failing “a job a monkey could do.” Eventually, Vega threatened her with “compromising photos” he had received from her during their online relationship and reportedly said, “Maybe I’ll blackmail you with those pictures I have to get you to leave your husband so you can come stay with me.” Doe reported the blackmail, and he was subsequently fired the next month. However, the suit points out the company was complicit in creating the conditions for Vega’s harassment, which is corroborated by many similar accusations against Activision Blizzard.
In a statement shared with Paste, an Activision spokesperson reiterated by Vega was quickly terminated after an investigation. “We take all employee concerns seriously. 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,” the statement reads.
This latest claim comes after last year’s massive lawsuit by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) that claimed Activision Blizzard perpetuated a “frat-boy” work culture that led to hundreds of reports of sexual harassment and abuse towards women at the company. The report detailed frequent verbal and physical abuse, such as “cube crawls,” where male employees would drink excessively and harass female employees. It also detailed rampant pay discrimination and that women rarely receive promotions. The DFEH suit bares similarity to widespread sexual harassment allegations levied at Ubisoft, as well as several other videogame companies over the years.
QA testers at an Activision Blizzard studio recently voted to unionize in response to hostile working conditions, amidst ongoing calls for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign following widespread allegations under his watch. Activision Blizzard and Microsoft are currently under regulatory scrutiny related to a potential merger between the two.