Skip to main content

Activision Blizzard’s harassment settlement is one step closer to approval

Activision Blizzard’s harassment settlement is one step closer to approval


A judge denied California regulators’ request to delay it

Share this story

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A federal judge is allowing plans for a settlement between Activision Blizzard and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to move forward, denying California state regulators’ request for a delay. The decision was filed yesterday in California district court, and it’s the latest setback for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s (DFEH) attempts to intervene in the deal.

The EEOC and Activision Blizzard agreed last year to settle sexual harassment and discrimination claims against the games publisher — which employees have accused of facilitating sexist abuse at the highest levels. The DFEH alleges that the federal settlement would harm its own case by potentially letting Activision Blizzard destroy relevant evidence. In December, however, a judge denied its request to formally join the suit to oppose the agreement.

“There is no reason to think that a stay would simplify anything about this lawsuit”

The DFEH appealed last month, but while the appeal will proceed, the EEOC’s case won’t be stayed during that period. “DFEH has never clearly enunciated what advantage it seeks to gain by its participation as a formal party,” wrote Judge Dale Fischer, noting that the agency can make its case against the proposed consent decree between the EEOC and Activision Blizzard as an outside party. “Similarly, there is no reason to think that a stay would simplify anything about this lawsuit.” A hearing will be set to weigh formally approving the federal settlement.

The complaints against Activision Blizzard predate Microsoft announcing plans to acquire it; according to a recent SEC filing, the companies entered discussions a couple of months after the EEOC agreement was proposed. The proposed settlement requires Activision Blizzard to set up an $18 million fund for employees who suffered harm alongside other measures, a change that would come alongside the departure of some high-level figures at the company — but not, so far, CEO Bobby Kotick.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.