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The owner of the Call of Duty and StarCraft games franchises is facing legal action in the US over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard, one of the world's largest game companies, is alleged to be tolerating a “frat boy” culture that has led to unequal pay, promoting men over women, and personal misconduct.
After a two-year investigation, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has initiated legal action against the company – a decision Activision has called “disgraceful and unprofessional”.
The DFEH has made a series of claims about the company's allegedly embedded culture of discrimination.
“Female employees almost universally confirmed that working for defendants was akin to working in a frat house,” the DFEH legal filing stated.
Men would “proudly” arrive at work with hangovers, play video games for long periods and delegate their responsibilities to female employees, it said. It also heard evidence that men had joked about rape and discussed sexual encounters.
“Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment,” the DFEH alleged. “High-ranking executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.”
Complaints had been dismissed, not been kept confidential and not prop