Staff at US gaming giant Activision Blizzard have staged a walk-out over accusations of sexism and harassment.

The company behind Call of Duty and World
of Warcraft was sued last week by the state
of California over alleged violations of state
workplace protection laws. Female employees described a “frat boy” culture, the lawsuit said.

Activision denied the allegations claiming they
were “distorted and in many cases false”.
On Tuesday. Activision’s CEO said the initial
response had been “tone-deaf. Employees protested outside the company’s campus in Irvine on Wednesday. Some were pictured holding signs that read “women’s voices
matter” and “fight bad guys in game. fight bad
guys IRL”.

On social media, a number of gamers said they
would not login to anything Activision Blizzard
during the walkout in solidarity with employees. The allegations against Activision were contained in a legal filing from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) following a two-year investigation.

It included accusations of drunken harassment
of female employees by male colleagues or
supervisors, a culture of ignoring complaints
and retaliation against women who made them,
and widespread discrimination against women
in areas such as equal pay and promotion opportunity. The lawsuit found that women make up only 20% of Activision’s staff.

More than 2.000 employees have signed an open letter calling for an end to mandatory arbitration in harassment cases, improvements in recruiting practices and ereation of a diversity and equity task force.

Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said on Tuesday that the company will “continue to investigate each and every claim” of sexism at Activision “and will not hesitate to take decisive action”.
Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of
our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.” he said.

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