California sued gaming giant Activision Blizzard, alleging widespread harassment of female staff. A male supervisor delegated his work to a female employee so he could play Call of Duty, the suit said.

Gaming giant Activision Blizzard's silver logo on one of its storefronts.
California state has field a sex discrimination lawsuit against gaming company Activision Blizzard

  • California sued gaming giant Activision Blizzard on Tuesday, alleging a “frat boy” culture.
  • A state agency said female staff were constantly sexually harassed and paid less for their work.
  • Activision Blizzard said the suit included “distorted” and “false” claims.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California’s fair employment agency filed a lawsuit against gaming giant Activision Blizzard on Tuesday, accusing the Call of Duty publisher of a “pervasive frat boy” in which female employees were routinely harassed.

In one alleged incident, a “newly promoted male supervisor delegated his responsibilities to his now female subordinates in favor of playing Call of Duty,” the filing said.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard and two subsidiaries – Activision Publishing and World of Warcraft creator Blizzard Entertainment – after a two-year investigation into working conditions for female staff, Bloomberg Law first reported.

DFEH said in Tuesday’s filing to the Los Angeles Supreme Court that women at the company were discriminated against, subjected to “constant sexual harassment,” groped, paid less for “substantially similar work,” and retaliated against by company HR when they complained.

“Unsurprisingly, [the] Defendants’ ‘frat boy’ culture is a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women,” the lawsuit said.

A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said in a statement that “the picture the DFEH paints is not the Blizzard workplace of today.”

“The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past. We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived,” the statement said.

“We value diversity and strive to foster a workplace that offers inclusivity for everyone. There is no place in our company or industry, or any industry, for sexual misconduct or harassment of any kind,” the spokesperson said.

“We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims. In cases related to misconduct, action was taken to address the issue.”

Read more: 52 Black ex-franchisees file a $1 billion racial-discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s, claiming the company sent them on ‘financial suicide missions’

The lawsuit detailed claims that some male workers engaged in “cube crawls” where they would “drink copious amounts of alcohol” and move between cubicles in the office, often behaving inappropriately towards their female coworkers.

Some male workers made sexual advances to female employees on the World of Warcraft team, and also made derogatory comments about rape, the lawsuit claimed.

The agency said in the filing that one female Activision Blizzard worker died by suicide during a business trip. A male coworker she had previously had a sexual relationship with was also on the trip, the suit said. Police found that the male supervisor had brought a butt plug and lubricant on the trip, DFEH said.

Another employee said the woman had suffered sexual harassment at work before her death, DFEH said.

It is not clear when the trip happened. An Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement to Insider that the employee’s suicide had “no bearing whatsoever on this case.”

The lawsuit alleged that Activision Blizzard’s female workers – which it said makes up around 20% of its workforce – were also promoted more slowly, while women in executive roles earned “less salary, incentive pay, and total compensation than their male peers,” citing Activision Blizzard’s own records with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

DFEH said that it filed the suit on grounds of unequal pay, sex discrimination, unlawful sexual harassment, retaliation, and for failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The agency said it was suing in the public interest and for Activision Blizzard’s female employees.

The agency is seeking compensation and punitive damages, and unpaid and lost wages for female workers, among other demands, although did not specify how much.

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How to change your Battle.net name on the Blizzard Entertainment gaming platform for free

Gamers at computers
Battle.net lets users change their usernames, or BattleTags, the first time free-of-charge.

  • You can change your Battle.net name, known as a BattleTag, once for free or again at-cost on the Blizzard Entertainment platform.
  • BattleTags don’t need to be unique, and you can change it once for free, with a fee for additional changes.
  • To change your BattleTag, go to your Blizzard account settings in a web browser and find the BattleTag settings in your account details. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Blizzard’s Battle.net gaming service is a popular platform for purchasing and playing Blizzard’s extensive library of games. Because it includes multiplayer gaming and social features like chats, you can choose a gamer tag – which Blizzard calls a BattleTag – so you can be found and identified online.

Your BattleTag is unique, so you don’t have to worry about other gamers having the same name. Blizzard allows you to change this tag once for free. After that, you’re charged a change fee, which is currently $10 per BattleTag change. 

Blizzard’s BattleTag naming rules

Blizzard gives you a lot of freedom when creating your name, but you’ll need to follow these conventions when changing your BattleTag:

  • It must be between 3-12 characters long.
  • It can’t start with a number, but numbers are allowed.
  • You can’t use any spaces or special symbols.
  • It also needs to follow Blizzard’s online code of conduct, which prohibits rude or offensive language. 

Here’s how to change your BattleTag for free or at cost.

How to change your Battle.net name on a computer

1. Open the Blizzard website in a web browser. 

2. At the top right of the page, click “My Account” and log in with your Battle.net credentials if necessary.

How to change your Battle.net name 1
If you’re not already logged in, click My Account and choose to log in.

3. Click your BattleTag at the top right of the page. 

4. In the dropdown menu, select “Account Settings.”

How_to_change_your_Battle_net_name 2
Go to your account settings.

5. In the navigation pane on the left, choose “Account Details.”

6. In the BattleTag section of the main page, click “Update.” 

How_to_change_your_Battle_net_name 3
Click to update your BattleTag.

7. Enter your new BattleTag and click “Change Your BattleTag.” 

8. If this is your first time changing your BattleTag, the change will appear immediately. 

9. If you’ve already changed your name at least once in the past, you will now need to buy a new BattleTag to proceed. 

How to change your Battle.net name 4
Enter your new BattleTag, making sure it follows Blizzard’s naming rules.

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