Activision Blizzard is being sued for wrongful death by the family of an employee who allegedly committed suicide after facing extensive sexual harassment from her co-workers.
This accusation was first brought to light in July 2021 when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed their initial gender discrimination lawsuit against the company.
As described in the lawsuit, which maintained that Activision Blizzard had fostered a “frat boy workplace culture,” an unnamed female employee “committed suicide during a business trip with a male supervisor who had brought butt plugs and lubricant with him on the trip.”
“Another employee confirmed that the deceased female employee may have been suffering from other sexual harassment at work prior to her death,” the State said. “Specifically, at a holiday party before her death, male co-workers were alleged to be passing around a picture of the deceased’s vagina.”
When the lawsuit first broke, Activision Blizzard pushed back against this and other such allegations by asserting, “The DFEH includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.”
“We have been extremely cooperative with the DFEH throughout their investigation, including providing them with extensive data and ample documentation, but they refused to inform us what issues they perceived,” they continued. “We are sickened by the reprehensible conduct of the DFEH to drag into the complaint the tragic suicide of an employee whose passing has no bearing whatsoever on this case and with no regard for her grieving family.”
Now, The Washington Post has revealed that the parents of the employee, 32-year-old finance manager Kerri Moynihan, are suing Activision Blizzard for her wrongful death.
According to them, Moynihan’s supervisor, Activision Senior Finance Director Greg Restituito, and Activision engaged in a “coverup” of their daughter’s death.
The lawsuit claims Moynihan spoke with Restituito in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa’s lobby in the early morning hours of April 27th, 2017.
Afterwards, Restituito allegedly texted her, “Please don’t do that. Not tonight. Think about it and make your decision when your mind is clear.”
Moynihan’s death allegedly came half an hour after this message and was ruled as a suicide by the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner’s office.
Retituito’s hotel key card was supposedly found in Moynihan’s room following her death, and when interviewed by detectives, he allegedly “concealed the fact that he had been having a sexual relationship” with her, as well as why he was also in possession of a key to her apartment.
The executive was also noted by police at the scene to have made “seemingly unusual inquiries with other employees who were present with [Kerri] the night preceding her death.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, he left Activision Blizzard one month after Moynihan’s death.
The lawsuit also claims Activision Blizzard refused to give police both Moynihan and Restituito’s company issued laptops and cell phones, even claiming that the latter’s had been “wiped.”
Additionally, it asserts that Moynihan’s parents did not know about the alleged sexual harassment she had suffered until the DFEH issued their lawsuit and that said harassment was a “significant factor” in her death.
The legal filing places blame for Moynihan’s death on Activision supervisors, including Restituito, as they “knew or should have known” about the harassment, but “failed and refused to take immediate corrective action.”
It’s not just Activision Blizzard in the spotlight of the lawsuit, as the Anaheim Police Department are also being accused of conducting a “perfunctory and incomplete investigation,” allegedly failing to perform such rudimentary tasks as dusting for fingerprints or questioning Restituito over the text message and thus leaving the family with “many unanswered questions.”
Further, the Anaheim Police Department refused to disclose their reports regarding Moynihan’s death to The Washington Post. Instead, a spokesman for the force, Sgt. Shane Carringer, simply told the news outlet, “We stand by our investigation.”
Regarding this newest lawsuit, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson stated that the company was “deeply saddened by the tragic death of Ms. Moynihan, who was a valued member of the company.”
“We will address the complaint through the legal process as appropriate,” the spokesperson continued, “and out of respect for the family we have no further comment at this time.”
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