Blizzard Devs Say Some Men Were Sexually Harassed, Too

Blizzard Devs Say Some Men Were Sexually Harassed, Too

Since allegations of widespread harassment and discrimination at Activision Blizzard first surfaced last week, former Blizzard developers and women across the field have spoken up once again about abuse in the games industry. While many of those affected are women, not all are, and some men are also sharing their stories.

Reports included unwanted shoulder rubs, being propositioned for sex, sexual harassment within their first day, and even a “game” around the office where men would try to grope one another’s genitals. These allegations haven’t been as widely reported as the litany of testimonials from harassed women, but they also point to how systemic the issues were at the company.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) complaint accuses the Call of Duty and Overwatch publisher of particular types and incidents of harassment and discrimiantion at the company and alleges a general “frat boy” culture that permeated the company. Activision Blizzard has rejected much of the complaint, describing its contents as “distorted and, in many cases, false descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” But according to former employees, no one was immune, including other men.

“We take every allegation seriously and investigate all claims,” a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard told Kotaku. “Such conduct is abhorrent and will not be tolerated. We appreciate the courage of any current or former employee in coming forward and will fully investigate any such claims brought to our attention.”

According to one former Blizzard developer, Cher Scarlett, the company’s “frat boy” culture also included senior managers engaging in “games” that involved groping male colleagues’ genitals. One of them was called “gay chicken” where “the first man to grab the others’ junk won,” they told Kotaku. They said they knew of at least three men who reported Blizzard to the DFEH, in part leading to the legal complaint for sexual assault and harassment.

A 2017 survey by CNBC found that about 10 per cent of men reported beeing victims of sexual harassment at work at some point. For sexual harassment reports that go to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, one in five are from men, the Washington Post reported in 2018.

Comments

  • 10% are reported, and probably a far greater percentage go unreported with the misandrynistic mindset that men ‘cannot be raped’ and that men should internalise and repress their trauma as part of western culture. Along with the vast majority of male rape being treated as a joke in cinema. Throw in the case in Australia a few years back when a male victim tried to sue his attacker and the judge told him to ‘toughen up’ and there a many reasons it would be severely underreported.

  • Other men also being targeted makes sense with the M.O. of the average deviate. They don’t really care about the specific victim, but the power trip they get from the harassment itself. I hope the men who were harassed can also access to compensation.

  • More men need to speak up if they are harassed. Whether it’s a woman or a man sexually harassing you, you need to speak up about it. Don’t let them get away with it.

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