An anonymous former Activision Blizzard employee has sued the company for workplace sexual harassment, adding yet another such suit to the ever-growing pile on the company's desk.
The suit targets not just the Call of Duty and Overwatch maker, but also the employee's former manager, Miguel Vega. It seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against both, and demands the remove of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
Per the suit, the employee, referred to as Jane Doe, met Vega in either 2009 or 2010 at a game night. The two became online friends, and during that friendship Doe sent Vega "compromising pictures," which she says she now regrets. The friendship ended in 2011 when Doe met her future husband, but the filing says Vega continued to make inappropriate advances toward Doe at work. They included groping, attempting to kiss her, and making comments to her about oral sex, masturbation and orgasms.
Vega is also accused of undercutting Doe's contributions at work, and threatened to blackmail her with the photos she had sent him to force her to leave her husband.
"Maybe I'll blackmail you with those pictures I have, to get you to leave your husband so you can come stay with me," Vega is reported to have said in the filing.
Activision Blizzard fired Vega in 2021 after Doe reported him to management, but the filing claims the company took too long to act, causing Doe physical and mental pain, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life.
"We take all employee concerns seriously," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told the Daily Mail. "When the plaintiff reported her concerns to HR, we immediately opened an investigation, and Mr. Vega was terminated within 10 days. We have no tolerance for this kind of misconduct."
This is the latest of several controversies Activision Blizzard faces regarding its workplace environment, which reports have described as rife with gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment. One Wall Street Journal report indicated CEO Bobby Kotick himself had harassed a former assistant, and was aware of sexual misconduct within the company for years before reports and lawsuits made those conditions public knowledge.
The parents of a former Activision Blizzard employee sued the company in March claiming her experience at the company led to her suicide. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company over workplace discrimination and harassment in July 2021; that suit remains ongoing. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settled its own suit against the company in March 2022.
The company is also being sued by the city of New York for rushing its proposed acquisition by Microsoft in order to shield Kotick from accountability with regard to the sexual harassment issue, thereby hurting the company's value. Regulators have yet to approve that acquisition.