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California Governor Gavin Newsom Accused of Interfering in Activision Blizzard Lawsuit

Abhimannu Das
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Highlights
The State of California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard is allegedly being interfered with.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has been accused of demanding advance notice of litigation strategy.
The State of California is accusing Activision Blizzard of discriminating against its female employees at virtually all levels of employment.

The State of California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard was met with a setback. California Governor Gavin Newsom has been accused of interfering in the lawsuit between California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and Activision Blizzard. The video game company was accused of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace and things continue to look bad for the studio which is well known for titles like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Diablo.

The lawsuit’s head counsel was allegedly fired by Newsom

According to a report by Bloomberg, a top state lawyer has resigned and has accused the governor’s office of interfering with the ongoing lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. Melanie Proctor, the assistant chief counsel for California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, told Bloomberg that she is resigning to protest Chief Counsel Janette Wipper’s firing by the California governor. Both government lawyers had already stepped down from the lawsuit without any explanation.

Proctor stated that the Office of the Governor repeatedly demanded advance notice of litigation strategy and of next steps in the litigation. She claimed that as the government started winning in state court, the interference increased. Chief Counsel Wipper is currently evaluating all avenues of legal recourse including a claim under the California Whistleblower Protection Act.

Activision recently reached a settlement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $18 million USD over a similar lawsuit. California lawsuits had attempted to block the settlement but a federal judge stepped in. Many noted that Riot Games, which is a much smaller company had to pay $100 million last year to settle a discrimination lawsuit in 2021. Activision Blizzard is facing severe charges and was allowed to settle for a fraction of the amount.

The lawsuit, which was launched in July 2021 by the state of California, is accusing Activision Blizzard of discriminating against its female employees at virtually all levels of employment, including on compensation, promotion, assignments, and termination. It claims that Activision Blizzard has a "frat boy workplace culture", which involved male employees drinking and subjecting female employees to sexual harassment with no repercussion.

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Abhimannu is a part of the content team at AFK Gaming and a lifelong obsessive gamer. He currently covers esports titles like VALORANT, CS: GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG and more.