Activision Blizzard has confirmed to Kotaku that former creative director Alex Afrasiabi was fired from the company following allegations of misconduct during his tenure at the gaming giant. The confirmation comes as part of a larger report into what was called the "Cosby Suite" at Activision Blizzard, which was also referred to in the complaint filed by a California agency.
The lawsuit, which has the California Department of Fair Employment And Housing alleging that Activision Blizzard participated in sexual discrimination, was filed last week in California. The lawsuit specifically mentions former senior creative Director Alex Afrasiabi in the complaint as someone who harassed women at the company. The complaint itself specifically mentions the existence of a "'Crosby Suite,' [sic] named such after alleged rapist Bill Crosby [sic]."
"In a blatant example of Defendant's refusal to deal with a harasser beause of his seniority/position, Alex Afrasiabi, the former Senior Creative Director of World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment, was permitted to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussions," the lawsuit alleges. It continues:
"During a company event (an annual convention called Blizz Con) Afrasiabi would hit on female employees, telling him he wanted to marry them, attempting to kiss them, and putting his arms around them. This was in plain view of other male employees, including supervisors, who had to intervene and pull him off female employees. Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite was nicknamed the "Crosby Suite" [sic] after alleged rapist Bill Crosby [sic] ."
In response to Kotaku's request for comment on their story, Activision Blizzard confirmed today that Afrasiabi was terminated due to misconduct.
“An employee brought these 2013 events to our attention in June 2020. We immediately conducted our own investigation and took corrective action. At the time of the report, we had already conducted a separate investigation of Alex Afrasiabi and terminated him for his misconduct in his treatment of other employees.”
The World of Warcraft team detailed steps they would be taking last night, which included removing references "that are not appropriate" for the game world. Many took this to mean references to Afrasiabi himself, which WoWHead confirmed last night to have started to take place.
As this report hit earlier today, hundreds of current and former employees of Activision Blizzard have taken to striking outside of the Blizzard campus in Southern California in a planned walkout protest in response to the lawsuit allegations and the gaming giant's initial responses to them. CEO Bobby Kotick made a statement last night where he called the lawsuit response on the part of his company "tone deaf," however the organizers of today's walkout stood their ground, stating that the statement "fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns," which includes the end of forced arbitration, worker oversight of hiring and promotion practices, greater pay transparency across the company and more.