‘It Was a Cult’: Women Suing Activision Blizzard for Sexual Harassment Speak Out

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

isa Bloom sits in front of the mic with the women who are suing Activision Blizzard.
Courtesy of The Bloom Firm

Three women suing Activision Blizzard for sexual harassment in the workplace publicly detailed their experiences Tuesday, likening working at the male-dominated video game publisher to being in a “cult” and demanding that CEO Bobby Kotick be fired.

“Good versus evil wasn’t just in their games,” attorney Lisa Bloom told a group of assembled media at a press conference in Woodland Hills on Tuesday morning. “For years, the women who work in the company have been fighting the monsters inside the company who treated them like dirt.”

Last week, Bloom filed a lawsuit against Activision on behalf of a client referred to as Jane Doe. Bloom said she represents a total of eight women who have claims against the Santa Monica-based company—including the three who spoke today—and encouraged more to come forward. Bloom told dot.LA that each woman is filing an individual suit, to make sure they’re fairly compensated.

The Jane Doe who sued Activision last week came forward today at the press conference, where she revealed key details about her case, including her first name. Christine still works in the company’s IT department, where she’s been an employee for five years. She claims to have been pressured to drink alcohol on the job and sexually harassed by multiple male Activision employees—including her direct supervisor, former Activision manager Mark Skorupa, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

“Blizzard was my dream job,” Christine said. “When I would try to be more social and attended events, I'd be subjected to sexual harassment, unwanted advances and comments… I just wanted to do my job and go home.”

Among the inappropriate interactions, Christine said male colleagues and “men in leadership roles” at the company have, without her consent, hugged her tightly from behind, put their hands into her lap, fondled her breasts and attempted to kiss her. Christine also said that a female colleague who held “swinger parties” with her husband invited her to join.

While Christine still works at Activision, she claimed that retaliation for speaking out about misconduct at the company has seen her passed over for promotions and kept her from advancing in her career. She said she filed several reports with the human resources department, only to have her complaints dismissed.

Christine’s is the first lawsuit filed against Activision by Bloom, but the attorney told dot.LA that she anticipates more to come.

Bloom is demanding Kotick be fired for cause so he can’t receive the roughly $375 million payout he’s expected to receive after Activision’s $69 billion merger with Microsoft closes. She is also requesting damages for her plaintiffs, a third-party investigation into the company’s conduct, and court orders to end forced arbitration at Activision and create a rotating HR department.

Two other women came forward at the press conference to speak out against Activision, also declining to give their last names for fear of retaliation. Ariel claims to have “endured sexual and emotional abuse” during her time at the company, where she was “degraded, gaslit and humiliated.”

A third woman, Shannon, spoke to the press via video conference. “While working at Activision, I suffered sexual harassment, sexual battery and sexual assault by managers and supervisors,” she said. Shannon recalled being sexually assaulted during numerous business trips by her bosses.

Bloom also read a statement from a fourth woman, who wished to remain anonymous. “This was a cult—either you were in or you were out,” the statement read. “What I experienced during my tenure at Blizzard was nothing short of horrendous.”


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