Call of Duty-maker Activision has a problem with ‘old white guys’, claims lawsuit

Microsoft acquired Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard after a year-long fight in 2023. Now, a former executive of the game publishing company has reportedly filed a lawsuit against the company. According to a report by Law360 (seen by GameIndustry.biz), the former executive (who has decided to remain anonymous) was with Activision since 2014 and was laid off as part of restructuring plans within the company in 2023. The executive has sued the publisher in California state court accusing the company of age discrimination and violating the state’s whistleblower protection law.
What sparked the ‘old white guys’ controversy in Activision
The lawsuit mentions a statement that was allegedly made by outgoing Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. During a leadership conference, Kotick reportedly said that “there are too many old white guys,” at the company.
As per the lawsuit, two executives allegedly departed the company after Kotick’s ‘ageist’ comment. The complaint also claims that while leaving the company one of these executives recommended the plaintiff as their replacement. However, the plaintiff was also overlooked in favor of a younger man, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit also alleges that a woman in the plaintiff’s department filed a complaint with human resources. The complaint cited her experiences with the company’s alleged age-based discriminatory actions.
The plaintiff also accused Activision Blizzard of failing “to protect him from the discriminatory and defamatory accusations.”
The plaintiff asked for “checks and balances”’ and made clear that he “was the first person to sound an alarm that a larger issue might be brewing,” the lawsuit adds.
With this lawsuit, the plaintiff is seeking damages to make up for this loss of earnings and to compensate for the negative impact on his career advancement. The lawsuit also aims to claim reparations from the company for the plaintiff’s reputational damage, emotional distress, wrongful termination and legal costs.

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