Apparently, Blizzard can’t catch a break.
In August 2015, Blizzard employees were at a major cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas, where the company was one of the sponsors and had a booth in the recruiting area.
Emily Mitchell, a security researcher who at the time was looking for a job, approached the Blizzard booth to see what positions were open at the company. Mitchell told Waypoint that she loves PC games, and played Diablo, Blizzard’s roleplaying game.
When she got to the table, she said she asked about the penetration testing position. Penetration testing, or pentesting, is the industry term for a security audit. Mitchell said she was wearing a t-shirt made by cybersecurity company SecureState, which had “Penetration Expert” on the front. One of the Blizzard employees first asked if she was lost, another one asked if she was at the conference with her boyfriend, and another one asked if she even knew what pentesting was.
“One of them asked me when was the last time I was personally penetrated, if I liked being penetrated, and how often I got penetrated,” Mitchell told Waypoint. “I was furious and felt humiliated so I took the free swag and left.”
Last week, the state of California sued Activision Blizzard for fostering a “frat boy” culture and for being “breeding ground for harassment” and discrimination. The lawsuit cited a series of alleged sexual harassment incidents over the years, including drunk male employees going on “cube-crawls” harassing women, jokes about rape, comments on female colleagues’ bodies, and groping. In what’s one of the more damning incidents alleged in the lawsuit, Alex Afrasiabi, a long-time World of Warcraft developer, used to call his hotel room during a company conference the Bill “Cosby suite [sic].” Several Blizzard employees told Kotaku that the name was a clear reference to Cosby’s history of sexual assaults, which were already public at the time.