Activision Blizzard Sued Over Claims Sexual Harassment Contributed To Employee Death

According to a report by The Washington Post† Paul and Janet Moynihan, the parents of Kerri Moynihan, a 32-year-old financial manager at Activision Blizzard, allege sexual harassment was a “major factor” that contributed to her death. Investigators ruled that Moynihan’s death was suicide after she was found dead in a hotel room at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in April 2017.

As noted by The mailMoynihan was named anonymously in the lawsuit filed last July by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which sued Activision Blizzard for allegedly promoting a toxic culture of “constant sexual harassment.” The DFEH’s complaint alleges that her male colleagues shared a photo of her vagina at a holiday party before her death. When the charges were filed, Activision Blizzard said the DFEH’s allegations were “distorted and in many cases false.”

A copy of the new lawsuit viewed by The mail alleges that Activision Blizzard “promoted and permitted a work environment in which sexual harassment was ubiquitous” and that it “failed to prevent such harassment.” It also accuses Moynihan’s boss, Greg Restituito, of hiding his sexual relationship with Moynihan from investigators. Restituito served as senior finance director for Activision Blizzard until May 2017, a month after Moynihan committed suicide.

According to the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard refused to allow police access to both Moynihan and Restituito’s company-issued phones and laptops while investigating Moynihan’s death.

Activision Blizzard has been embroiled in controversy since last year’s lawsuit. Months after workers staged a strike to protest workplace discrimination, The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell report claiming Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of rampant sexual misconduct at the company — Kotick still remains the CEO after employees and shareholders called for his resignation. In January, Microsoft announced its upcoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard, with Kotick remaining the company’s CEO until the deal closes sometime in 2023.

The edge contacted Activision Blizzard with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

Disclosure: Casey Wasserman serves on the board of directors of Activision Blizzard and on the board of directors of Vox Media, the parent company of The Verge.

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