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On July 20th, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard collecting “Numerous complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation” at the company.

Employees the DFEH spoke to said Activision Blizzard has a “Frat boy” culture that’s been a “Breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.” In the week since, more than 3,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed an open letter to management speaking up for victims and making a call for “Official statements that recognize the seriousness of the allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault.”

Here’s the latest from the Activision Blizzard controversy, a timeline of events since the lawsuit was made public, and a lawyer’s perspective on what losing the lawsuit could mean for Activision Blizzard.

Friday July 23: Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Fran Townsend sends a very different message to staff, calling the lawsuit’s depiction of AB “Distorted and untrue” and that Activision Blizzard “Truly values equality and fairness.” Townsend says that when she joined the executive leadership team in March 2021 she was certain she “Was joining a company where I would be valued, treated with respect ,and provided opportunities equal to those afforded to the men of the company.” Townsend reiterates the initial response that the lawsuit’s claims were inaccurate.

In a statement sent to PC Gamer and other press outlets, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said that the lawsuit includes “Distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past” and that the DFEH was “Required by law to adequately investigate and to have good faith discussions with us to better understand and to resolve any claims or concerns before going to litigation, but they failed to do so. Instead, they rushed to file an inaccurate complaint, as we will demonstrate in court.”

Because the DFEH’s investigation into Activision Blizzard must have been ongoing for some time, Voyer says the lawsuit is a way to publicly push Activision Blizzard into a settlement.

Going after a company as big as Activision Blizzard gives the DFEH a chance to make a public spectacle; even if it doesn’t have strong enough evidence to push the company into a multi-million dollar settlement, it could have significant ramifications.

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