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Activision Blizzard claims sexual harassment contributed to employee's death

Activision Blizzard claims sexual harassment contributed to employee's death

According to a report in The Washington Post, the parents of an Activision Blizzard employee who committed suicide during a company retreat in 2017 are suing the company for wrongful death. Paul and Janet Moynihan, parents of 32-year-old finance manager Kerry Moynihan at Activision Blizzard, alleged that sexual assault was a "significant factor" contributing to her death. Investigators ruled Moynihan's death a suicide in April 2017 after she was found dead in a hotel room at Disney's Grand California Hotel & Spa.

As noted by The Post, Moynihan was referred anonymously in a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) last July that perpetrated a toxic culture of "constant sexual harassment." Activision Blizzard was sued for giving DFEH's complaint claims that her male colleagues passed around a photo of her vagina at a holiday party before her death. When the lawsuit was filed, Activision Blizzard stated that DFEH's allegations were "distorted, and in many cases false."

A copy of the new lawsuit, seen by The Post, claims that Activision Blizzard "promoted and permitted a work environment in which sexual harassment was widespread" 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 Activision Blizzard's senior director of finance until May 2017, a month after Moynihan's suicide.

According to the suit, Activision Blizzard allegedly denied police access to both Moynihan and Restituto's company-issued phones and laptops during the investigation into Moynihan's death.

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

The Verge reached out to Activision Blizzard with a request for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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