Publisher Activision Blizzard has been accused of discriminating against “old white guys,” by a former executive.
As reported by Law360 (spotted by GamesIndustry.biz), a lawsuit has been filed by a former executive who worked for the publishing giant from 2014. The unnamed executive was laid off as part of restructuring plans within the company last year.
The argument includes statements allegedly made by outgoing Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick during a leadership conference wherein he said that “there are too many old white guys,” at the company.
Elsewhere in the suit, it alleges that following these comments, two executives at the company departed, citing Kotick’s “ageist” comments.
When leaving the company, one of these executives recommended the plaintiff as their replacement, however, the suit alleges that the plaintiff was overlooked in favor of a younger man.
The lawsuit also alleges that a woman in the plaintiff’s department filed a complaint with human resources citing her own experiences with the company’s alleged discriminatory action based on age.
The plaintiff accuses Activision Blizzard of failing “to protect Plaintiff from the discriminatory and defamatory accusations.”
“Plaintiff asked for ‘checks and balances’ and made clear that Plaintiff ‘was the first person to sound an alarm that a larger issue might be brewing,'” according to the suit.
The plaintiff is seeking damages to make up for this loss of earnings, and to compensate for the negative impact on his career advancement, as well as reparations for reputational damage, emotional distress, wrongful termination, and legal costs.
When asked for comment by GamesIndustry.biz, the company referred the publication to its equal employment opportunity policy.
Bobby Kotick was CEO of Activision from 1991 until 2008, after which he became CEO of Activision Blizzard in connection with the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games.
While he has helped steer Activision Blizzard to great commercial heights during his tenure, Kotick’s reputation—and that of the company—has suffered greatly in recent years following several scandals.
That includes allegations that executives intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay reported instances of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Both Kotick and Activision have denied the allegations.