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Activision employee used ‘1-800-ALLCOCK’ signature ‘For years’




A man in a helmet stares while smoke from World War II surrounds him.

Picture: Activision

A lawsuit in California earlier this year alleged sexual harassment, discrimination and a pervasive “frat boy culture” at Duty calls publishes Activision Blizzard. In at least one case, that culture included an employee signing all of their work emails as “1-800-ALLCOCK.”

That detail comes from last episode of The Wall Street Journal podcast which elaborates on some of its recent bomb investigation report that outlines new cases of abuse and cover-up, including by CEO Bobby Kotick.

“There was one example where an Activision employee for years had just signed his email signature 1-800-ALLCOCK,” said reporter Kirsten Grind in a transcript of the podcast. “So if you were a woman, you would get that email, and that was just normal, right? Only guys who joked about it, and you just felt like that was what happened on Activision.”

Activision reportedly will not take action on the email signature until it receives a complaint this summer, when it fired the employee after a month-long investigation. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The podcast episode also interviewed a former employee about her time at Sledgehammer Games, producer of the recently released Call of Duty: Vanguard. Ashley Mark, employed as a quality assurance analyst in 2016 during the production of Call of Duty: WWII, the male-dominated workplace described as follows:

You have people who want to … Basically are very nerdy, want to make a good game, and then you have the gun-loving group because it’s Call of Duty, so you’ll get people who love guns, and then you have people who are really interested in fitness. There are many who are in fitness at least at that time at Sledgehammer Games. So there were people who would go in groups and that you would go to the gym and they would just be pumped up. So it’s very masculine.

Mark remembered a studio anniversary party in 2017 where a former Sledgehammer boss “put his arm around my female colleague almost like a stranglehold” while he hugged her and said her name repeatedly. It told the former boss Wall Street Journal he did not remember the details of that night because he was too drunk, but confirmed that he was put on a two-week paid suspension before being moved to another role.

Sledgehammer Games was also where a former female employee was allegedly raped twice, incidents that were not investigated until she sent a letter from her lawyer after she had already left the company. According to the new podcast episode, when she originally took her complaint to studio HR, a department representative tried to get her downplay what had happened and reframe it in a more positive light.

Until recently, most of the attention has been on allegations of past abuse and discrimination at Blizzard. But these latest reports reinforce parts of the original California lawsuit that cited booze-filled offices and work events, and negligent HR departments, as recipes for malpractice throughout the Activision Blizzard business.

This week, the leaders of both PlayStation and Xbox talked out about the latest revelations. Ideal organisation Girls who code cut ribbons with the company. And some shareholders joined over 2000 current Activision Blizzard employees by urging Kotick to withdraw.

“It’s pretty clear that the only forces that can create change at Activision are the customers (whose money is the ultimate business goal), the investors and the employees whose talent makes Activision’s games worth buying,” said Paul Reiche, former head of Activision Blizzard’s. Skylanders studio, told Axios Today. “If the new stories I’ve read are true, I can not see how Activision can continue its success without new leadership.



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