CultureHead Magazine

Activision- Blizzard, The developers of world-renowned games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch are involved in another disaster. A lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleges that Activision Blizzard failed to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against female employees. Female employees, who make up 20% percent of Activision-Blizzard, had suffered through “pervasive frat boy workplace culture,” like “cube crawls,” where male employees got drunk in the office and harassed their female coworkers.

Men are entering lactation rooms to watch women breastfeed. Men are harassing their coworkers and getting away with it being protected by their male supervisors, while the victims fear retaliation for speaking out. It even led to the unfortunate death of one employee, whose intimate images were leaked to her coworkers. It’s a disgusting, male-dominated culture, and unfortunately, it’s just another example of the entire gaming industry. This lawsuit is just the latest in a long line of sexism, racism, and overall awful working conditions that have always existed in the community. 

Every part of this community has issues; female gamers are simply harassed for existing in this community to the point where many reported simply hiding their gender to avoid it. With the rise of the #MeToo Movement, we learned that many female Twitch Streamers have been suffering harassment from men in the industry. We had GamerGate, the supposed fight for ethics in journalism, which turned into an anti-woman campaign seven years prior. Feminist gamers were targeted for their comments about the gaming world. They received death threats and harassment at all fronts from the “traditional” gamers.

The gamers of the past believed they were outcaste for their hobbies. The “Gamers,” who were thought to be synonymous with nerds, and losers felt that women were invading their special hobby, and this outcry was the ramblings of a bunch of man-children who couldn’t face the realities. Video Games are mainstream, and everyone plays them. It’s not unique. It’s not special. It’s a part of modern society, and it’s become a cultural norm. Its social network is no different from a bar, and now you can understand how a Frat Culture can exist in a place like Activision-Blizzard. 

After Blizzard employees walkout in protest for change, J. Allen Brack stepped down as President of Blizzard. However, he is simply one part of the bigger problem that exists in the company. Considering the CEO of Activision-Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, has his own history of sexual assault allegations from 2006. You can now see where the toxic culture stems from. You can’t stop a problem unless you cut it at the root, otherwise, the rot begins again. Change can only happen if everyone that has harmed the industry is removed entirely. Get rid of Kotick, Brack, and everyone else who allowed this toxic culture to prosper. Purge the company from these men, who failed their own employees. Otherwise, this is just another chapter, being told in the same old story.

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