Videogame Maker Activision Blizzard to Pay $50 Million in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
Videogame maker Activision Blizzard will pay $50 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit, bringing an end to the investigation into workplace misconduct. This settlement is the second-largest ever by the California Civil Rights Department.
Troy D. Hanson
December 16, 2023
Activision Blizzard, the videogame maker behind popular titles like "Call of Duty," has reportedly agreed to pay approximately $50 million to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed by the California Civil Rights Department. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2021, alleged sexual harassment, discrimination, and pay disparities within the company.
The settlement is expected to bring an end to the high-profile investigation into Activision Blizzard's workplace misconduct, which has put significant pressure on the company and its CEO, Bobby Kotick. These allegations played a part in Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition bid for the company earlier this year.
Despite repeatedly denying the accusations, Activision Blizzard faced mounting scrutiny from state and federal regulators. The company's leadership was criticized for their inadequate response to the allegations. As a result, Microsoft swooped in with the acquisition offer, which closed in October after receiving approval from regulators in the U.K. and E.U. However, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission continues to challenge the deal.
If confirmed, this settlement will rank as the second-largest ever by the California Civil Rights Department. The largest settlement to date was a $100 million agreement reached with Riot Games, another Southern California-based videogame developer, to address gender-discrimination allegations in 2021.
Activision Blizzard initially faced the potential of a much larger settlement, as the state estimated the company's liability at nearly $1 billion. This covered approximately 2,500 employees who had claims against the company.
Representatives for Activision Blizzard and the California Civil Rights Department were unavailable for immediate comment.