California governor intervenes in Activision sexual harassment case: lawsuit
California Governor Gavin Newsome has intervened in his state’s sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against video gaming giant Activision Blizzard, with two lawyers leaving the case. Bloomberg News reported.
Melanie Proctor, a lawyer with the State Department of Fair Employment and Housing, told staff in an email on Tuesday that she was resigning in protest of Newsom’s dismissal of the agency’s chief attorney, Janet Whipper.
According to Bloomberg News, both Proctor and Whipper withdrew from the Activision lawsuit earlier this month, but no explanation has been given as to why they left.
Procter told staff that the Newsum office had “begun to interfere” in the Activision lawsuit.
“The governor’s office has repeatedly requested prior notice of litigation strategy and the next steps in the lawsuit,” Proctor said in an email from Bloomberg.
“As we continue to win in state court, this interference has increased, mimicking Activision’s lawyer’s interests,” Procter said in an email about the alleged involvement.
When Whipper tried to “protect” the agency from outside interference, she was “abruptly terminated” according to Proctor.
“I will resign from April 13, 2022 in protest of the intervention and the termination of Janet,” Proctor wrote.
Wipper is reported to be “evaluating all avenues of legal aid, including litigation, under the California Whistleblower Protection Act,” according to her spokeswoman.
Newsum spokeswoman Erin Mellon said the allegations about the intervention were “commercially flawed”, according to a Bloomberg report. Mellon said the governor’s office “will continue to support DFEH’s efforts to combat all forms of discrimination and protect the people of California.”
Last summer, California sued Activision, a Santa Monica-based publisher of popular video games such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft”, accusing it of promoting a “Fratbro” culture full of rape jokes, crude comments and groaning. .
The atmosphere was so toxic that a female employee who had been sexually assaulted was incited to commit suicide, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that women in the company, which is 80% male, “constantly need to prevent unwanted sexual comments and progress by their colleagues and supervisors and are being caught at ‘Cube Crawls’ and other company events.” .
The lawsuit was probably funded by a staff member who walked out in protest of CEO Bobby Cotic’s involvement in the scandal.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced it would buy the company for $ 68.7 billion. The purchase is pending approval by antitrust authorities at the Federal Trade Commission.