Activision Blizzard Is Facing Another Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
A Jane Doe is pursuing her former employer and manager for alleged sexual abuse that occurred over the span of five years.
An anonymous former Activision Blizzard employee is suing the company and her former manager for alleged sexual harassment, gender discrimination and sexual battery in a new case filed on Oct. 7 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, according to court documents obtained by The Jacob Wolf Report.
The anonymous plaintiff alleges that her former manager, Miguel Vega, groped her at work, repeatedly made sexual comments and advances and belittled her. The plaintiff also said that Vega allegedly threatened to extort her multiple times—including most recently in August 2021—using a sexually explicit picture she had sent him almost a decade prior to their time as coworkers.
The detailed complaint was first reported by The Daily Mail. Neither Activision Blizzard nor Vega have responded to the lawsuit as of Thursday. Activision Blizzard terminated Vega in August 2021 amid reports made by the plaintiff and another woman to the company’s human resources department. Vega could not be reached for comment and had deleted his LinkedIn profile following the release of the lawsuit.
Vega and the plaintiff first met in 2009 or 2010 at a get-together that included Activision Blizzard employees. The plaintiff became an independent contractor for Activision Blizzard in 2016 and later became a full-time employee in the company’s player support department in 2020.
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After she started as a contractor in 2016, her issues with Vega began. The suit alleges that over the five-year period between her hiring and Vega’s termination that Vega repeatedly belittled the plaintiff and said in one meeting that she was failing at “a job a monkey could do.”
Vega also allegedly held his role in helping the plaintiff get the job over her head in an effort, she says, to coerce her into having a sexual relationship with him. In one instance, when the plaintiff complained to Vega that she felt underpaid, Vega allegedly pointed to his crotch and said, “Well, you know what you need to do.”
The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard knew of Vega’s behavior prior to his dismissal and that the plaintiff first reported him to a manager, Steffany Powell, in 2017. After that report, the plaintiff alleges the behavior continued and that she reported him a second time, this time to manager Christopher Bruens, in Aug. 23, 2021. Activision Blizzard terminated Vega on Sept. 1, 2021.
The plaintiff is alleging that Activision Blizzard and Vega broke six counts of California law and are seeking an unspecified amount of damages, as well as attorney’s fees and missed wages related to lack of employment due to emotional distress allegedly caused by Vega’s actions.
The lawyer representing the plaintiff is Lisa Bloom, a longtime women’s advocate attorney whose reputation became mired in controversy after she advised disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Bloom has represented women who were allegedly sexually harassed by a number of powerful figures in politics and media, including former president Donald Trump, Bill Cosby and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
But Bloom also advised Weinstein on how to discredit his victims in the wake of numerous allegations against him in 2016 and 2017. Bloom reportedly offered journalist Ronan Farrow, who exposed Weinstein in The New Yorker, opposition research about actress Rose McGowan, whom Weinstein allegedly raped.
Bloom held a press conference with a Blizzard employee in front of the company’s headquarters in December and on Twitter Tuesday said she represents eight women who were allegedly sexually harassed at Activision Blizzard.
The suit is the latest in a number of legal issues for Activision Blizzard around sexual harassment.
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In July 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a suit against the Santa Monica and Irvine, Calif.-based game developer for a “frat boy” culture that allowed for a number of women to allegedly be sexually abused and discriminated against.
In March 2022, after a four-year investigation and lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a judge approved a settlement that would see Activision Blizzard pay eligible claimants of sexual harassment $18 million. The fund has not paid a single woman to date, according to the new lawsuit.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating the company and its CEO, Bobby Kotick, on what disclosures were made to shareholders and board members about the sexual abuse issues at the company and its practices on the matter, according to a September 2021 Wall Street Journal article.
According to another Journal report, Kotick allegedly knew about harassment issues at the company and did not tell his board that the company settled another sexual harassment case out of court.