A female employee is suing Activision Blizzard with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace and the threat of their then-manager committing revenge porn against her.
** Content warning: harassment **
The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, alleges that then-manager Miguel Vega committed sexual battery, sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment, gender discrimination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The news was first reported by the Daily Mail.
This is a separate lawsuit from Activision Blizzard’s case that was recently settled for $18 million. The company has been facing nearly a full year’s worth of allegations, lawsuits, and accusations of fostering a workplace culture filled with harassment, sexism, misogyny, and mistreatment of workers. A recent California Department of Fair Housing and Employment investigation discovered that working conditions at Activision Blizzard featured over-the-top drinking and rampant sexual harassment. Doe’s lawsuit is the latest example.
Jane Doe’s lawsuit mentions that Vega helped get Doe hired as an independent contractor at Activision Blizzard in 2016. She was later hired as a community engagement coordinator in 2020 for the Player Support Department. Vega quietly left the company in September, but Doe indicates that this alone is not enough. She says that Activision Blizzard has not done enough to deal with the frat boy culture and atmosphere that exists at teh company, fostering rampant harassment, sexism, and discrimination.
Jane Doe also requests that Bobby Kotick be removed as CEO.
Doe states that she met Vega in either 2009 or 2010 when they formed a virtual friendship. Doe sent Vega “compromising photos” of herself, which she now regrets. The friendship ended when Doe met her future husband in 2011. Vega would use these photos as an attempt to blackmail Doe.
As recently as August of 2021, Vega threatened to release the photos. “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 said, according to the lawsuit.
Vega would reportedly belittle, insult, and harass Doe in the workplace. Vega often groped and attempted to kiss her, according to the lawsuit. “All of Mr. Vega’s sexual advances upon Ms. Doe were unwelcomed. After each time she rejected him, he’d assure her that “One day it’ll happen” or “One day you’ll give in.”
The complaint specifies that “Activision Blizzard’s failure to curb sexist and harassing conduct emboldened manager Miguel Vega to abuse, belittle and insult Ms. Doe by making comments to her about oral sex, masturbation and orgasms, threatening her job if she would not consent to sex, mocking her breasts, and commenting on other female employees’ attractiveness.”
Doe’s job performance was also under attack from Vega. During meetings, Vega allegedly “based, belittled, and insulted Ms. Doe, telling her that her ideas were terrible and that she was failing ‘a job a monkey could do’.” In addition, Vega would reportedly say that Doe was a “no one” that “doesn’t know shit” and her “opinions don’t matter.”
Jane Doe reported Miguel Vega to her manager in August 2021. Shortly after, Vega left a voicemail for Doe “in a poor attempt to mitigate the harm he caused her.” As mentioned prior, Vega left the company in September.
CEO Bobby Kotick, who has been accused of abusive behavior, said regarding the company’s scandals that “there is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences.”
A small group of Activision Blizzard shareholders tried to get Bobby Kotick fired as CEO late last year but were unsuccessful. If the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved, he will not be a part of the Xbox Gaming Leadership team.