As employees walk out of Activision Blizzard today over allegations of “constant sexual harassment” and workplace discrimination — and how poorly they felt the company responded — Kotaku has released a report backing up allegations that a fired developer kept a hotel suite named after alleged rapist Bill Cosby.
In case you’re catching up, the state of California sued Blizzard for gender discrimination last week. The allegations include claims specifically naming Alex Afrasiabi, the former senior creative director of World of Warcraft. The suit says that on top of sexually harassing women, Afrasiabi had a hotel room during BlizzCon 2013 nicknamed the “Cosby Suite” — and it suggested that other employees knew about it.
Neither Kotaku’s report nor the California lawsuit say anyone was sexually abused specifically in the Cosby Suite, but it’s increasingly clear the suite was a real thing. As you can see above, there’s a picture of alleged Blizzard developers literally holding up a framed photo of Bill Cosby. Kotaku says the suite was “a hot spot for informal networking at BlizzCon ... where people looking to make inroads at the company would go to meet and hang out with some of its top designers.” One source told Kotaku that the original intent wasn’t sexual — saying it was a reference to Cosby’s “iconic ugly sweaters” — but Cosby already faced multiple sexual assault accusations at the time and other sources apparently understood it as a reference to them.
Kotaku says it has a Facebook album full of photos from the suite, comments of a sexual nature, screenshots of an alleged chat with several named Blizzard developers identifying themselves as the “BlizzCon Cosby Crew,” and sources attesting to the existence of a “boys club” there. One former Blizzard designer allegedly bragged in comments about “gathering the hot chixx for the Coz.”
It’s not clear how serious the “BlizzCon Cosby Crew’s” statements were intended to be, but Activision Blizzard confirmed to Kotaku that it terminated Afrasiabi after it was made aware of the complaint’s allegations last month. That’s something the company hadn’t previously revealed publicly.
You can read the full report at Kotaku.