Current Video Game Maker Employee Alleges Sexism in IT Department


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Video game maker Activision Blizzard is being sued by a current employee who alleges she suffered a backlash for complaining about sexual harassment and discrimination while working in the IT department's ``frat boy atmosphere,'' and her lawsuit demands include the replacement of the CEO.

``Activision Blizzard is a massive video game company with a massive sexual harassment problem,'' according to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought Wednesday by the plaintiff identified only as Jane Doe.

The suit alleges sexual battery, failure to prevent harassment, sexual favoritism and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Doe seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, the removal of CEO Robert Kotick and an order preventing Mark Skorupa -- one of her ex-bosses and a co-defendant in the suit -- from having any contact with her.

An Activision Blizzard representative could not be immediately reached.

The company's open ``frat boy atmosphere'' has fostered rampant sexism, harassment and discrimination with 700 reported incidents occurring under Kotick's watch, according to the suit.

Doe was hired at the company in October 2017 as a senior administrative assistant to Skorupa and senior director Eric Kou in Activision Blizzard's IT department and she immediately began to experience harassment and gender discrimination, the suit states.

On the plaintiff's first day, Skorupa and others took Doe to a luncheon where she was pressured to drink multiple tequila shots, the suit states. Skorupa put his hand on Doe's lap, the suit alleges.

On Doe's second day, an executive administrative assistant sent the plaintiff an email with a comment about hookers, according to the suit.

At the November 2017 BlizzCon event held by the company, the executive administrative assistant and Skorupa pressured Doe to ``drink with the team,'' leaving her drunk, the suit states. Skorupa gave Doe the key to his hotel room, saying he was not using it that night, and she went there to sleep, the suit states.

``Ms. Doe does not remember much else from that night other than waking up in the middle of the night in a state of shock as she was completely naked -- something very unusual for her -- and then driving home,'' the suit states.

In July 2018, Skorupa drove with Doe in a convertible car to a facility the company has in Burbank and ``told her that her breasts were going to get a nice tan,'' the suit states.

Doe alleges that after she complained about her work environment, her job duties were reduced and she ultimately accepted a demotion to escape the ``rampant sexism'' in the IT department. She also maintains she was moved from an office to a cubicle and denied open positions for which she was qualified. Human resources ``acknowledged that leadership was retaliating against her and bullying her, but it did not help her in any way'' and told her ``that if she was not happy, there was always the option to find a job outside of Activision Blizzard,'' the suit states.

``To this day, Activision Blizzard has refused to promote Ms. Doe despite her exemplary work,'' the suit alleges.

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