Activision Blizzard sued for wrongful death of female employee

Activision Blizzard has come under scrutiny yet again, as the parents of an employee who died by suicide at a company retreat in 2017 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the gaming company. According to The Washington Post, the parents of 32-year-old Kerri Moynihan, who worked as a finance manager at Activision Blizzard, have claimed that sexual harassment at the company was a “significant factor” in her suicide.

In April 2017, Moynihan’s body was discovered in a hotel room at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. At the time, the death was ruled a suicide by the investigators. The Post obtained a copy of the new lawsuit, which mentioned Activision Blizzard’s alleged “hostile, intimidating, offensive, and abusive” workplace.

According to the lawsuit, the company is liable because it did not stop the sexual harassment and toxic atmosphere that led to her suicide. Moynihan’s death was mentioned in a lawsuit filed last year by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), but she was not explicitly named.

The lawsuit also accuses Moynihan’s boss, Greg Restituito, of concealing his sexual relationship with Moynihan from investigators. Restituito held the position of senior finance director until May 2017, a month after Moynihan died. It also claims that Moynihan was subjected to other forms of sexual harassment at work, citing an incident in which a photo of her vagina was circulated at a company party.

The year before, Activision Blizzard called the DFEH lawsuit’s claims “distorted, and in many cases false,” and chastised the state department for mentioning the suicide. According to the family’s lawsuit, Greg Restituito initially lied to investigators looking into her death, concealing his sexual relationship with Moynihan.

The lawsuit also alleges that Activision Blizzard refused to provide authorities with access to Moynihan and Restituito’s company-issued phones and laptops during the investigation into her death. This is not the first time Activision Blizzard has been chastised for sexual harassment allegations, as WSJ reporting last year revealed that CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of widespread sexual misconduct at the company.

Despite calls for his resignation, Kotick remains CEO of Activision Blizzard. Microsoft recently agreed to buy Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, with the deal set to close in 2023, during which time Kotick will remain CEO.