Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Activision Blizzard devs used to play ‘gay chicken’ and sexually harass men, too

After a filing of a lawsuit against them from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, more and more news about Activision Blizzard and the goings-on in the company have been revealed from current and former employees. While all revelations have been disturbing, the reveal that Activision Blizzard developers also encouraged games like ‘gay chicken‘ only further confirms the “frat culture” that the filing spoke of.

This news comes from Kotaku, who reported yesterday that it wasn’t just women who experienced sexual harassment, but men as well. They experienced things such as propositions for sex, sexual harassment on their first day, and shoulder rubs that were unwanted.

The overall response from Activision Blizzard was a statement from the company’s spokesperson, stating that the filing “distorted and, in many cases, false descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” A letter in response to that particular statement, as well as the internal statement of Frances Townsend, was signed by over 1000 staff members from Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard also told Kotaku that they “take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. Such conduct is abhorrent and will not be tolerated. We appreciate the courage of any current or former employee in coming forward and will fully investigate any such claims brought to our attention.” However, considering the attitude from senior higher-ups in a call that happened yesterday, the attitude of Activision Blizzard leaves much to be desired.

Despite the insistence that the behaviour displayed by some Activision Blizzard staff members doesn’t ‘represent who Blizzard is’, ex-personnel manager of Blizzard Kevin Meier responded by stating “Yes it does, and it has for a long time. Since my first day back in 2012, I was sexually harassed, and women have it way worse.” Meier has also been criticized by other Blizzard employees for engaging in toxic behaviour himself, but details of the behaviour have not been revealed as of now.

Shockingly, this frat boy culture also included senior managers. A former engineer for Blizzard Entertainment, Cher Scarlett, confirmed via Twitter DM that she witnessed “first hand” the sexual harassment and groping of her male colleagues. This includes Activision Blizzard devs performing games of ‘gay chicken’ where, as they told Kotaku, men would be encouraged to grab their male colleagues genitals and the first person to do so would win.

Considering that Activision Blizzard has prided itself on being inclusive of marginalized identities, these allegations blow that statement right open.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.