This is an opportunity for Chris Cuomo and CNN to show what accountability can look like in the #MeToo era.
Investigations by the university and the Justice Department identified 23 student-athletes who had been inappropriately touched by an athletic trainer, officials said.
In video game parlance, longtime gaming publisher Activision Blizzard has jumped to “extreme” difficulty as of late, thanks to a wave of highly publicized lawsuits. On Monday, the company behind World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Call of Duty faced arguably its biggest test yet, this time from the federal government.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Activision Blizzard over how the video game publisher dealt with allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination—and whether related information was properly disclosed to shareholders by executives.
The federal regulator has subpoenaed the company as well several senior executives, including CEO Bobby Kotick, according to The Wall Street Journal. It has also requested a variety of documents, including Kotick’s communications with other executives regarding the matter, minutes from board meetings held since 2019, the personnel files of six former employees, and separation agreements written this year. Former employees also reportedly have been subpoenaed.
Zhou Xiaoxuan, a former television intern, became a leading voice in the movement after accusing a star presenter of assault.
But investigators said they could not confirm The Times’s reporting that the sport’s top global official, Hamane Niang, knew about the abuse.
Tarana Burke discusses her new memoir, “Unbound,” and how she turned away from one movement to found another.
Twenty-two women have filed civil lawsuits in Texas accusing the quarterback of a pattern of coercive and lewd behavior.
Those who served in the wars that began after Sept. 11, 2001, are struggling with health problems, trauma and feelings of displacement and alienation.
Prosecutors declined to charge the man, who a co-worker said had assaulted her, an allegation that highlighted sexism in the Chinese tech scene.
As former models prepare to offer testimony against Gérald Marie, their former agency boss, big names like Carla Bruni, Paulina Porizkova and Karen Elson are offering their support.
Mr. David, who previously worked as a lawyer for Andrew Cuomo, was identified in a report as having advised the former governor on how to handle sex harassment allegations.
When I arrived at the office, the reality that awaited me was the one I’d never imagined: the best-case scenario.
As the Taliban advanced, safe houses for women closed, and the staff sheltered girls at home as relatives released from prison threatened to kill them.
We need to get beyond the habit of viewing all kinds of exploitative, creepy or troubling sex solely through the lens of consent.
A rape accusation at the Chinese e-commerce giant has shed light on a work culture that some former employees say is humiliating and toxic.
The departure is the latest fallout from revelations that group leaders advised the former New York governor on handling harassment allegations.
In “Sexual Justice,” Alexandra Brodsky, a civil rights lawyer, homes in on the processes by which such cases are typically adjudicated — and how to improve them.
The prerecorded speech comes nearly two weeks after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced his resignation; he will be succeeded at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The prominent anti-harassment charity, criticized for its relationship with the former New York governor, is facing an identity crisis over its ties to those in power.
With Gov. Andrew Cuomo set to leave office in a few days, his lawyer again challenged the credibility of the inquiry that led to his departure.
The artist was a great one-hit wonder, twice, before a scandal set in. Will his paintings regain visibility? Our critic argues it is healthier for us to see them.
The R&B star is on trial after years of delays. He is accused of commanding a criminal enterprise that recruited women and underage girls to have sex with him.
Carl Heastie, the speaker of the New York State Assembly, said the body would end its investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo when his resignation takes effect later this month.
Andrew Cuomo inherited his father’s fierce competitive spirit but not his humanity or introspection.
In the weeks since Norway’s women’s beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms, other countries have increased pressure for a change in federation rules.
Behind the scenes, the governor vacillated between defiant and defeated, eventually accepting that his formidable political army had fallen away.
In his resignation speech, Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed regrets but also emphasized his achievements during three terms leading New York State.
After a ballooning sexual harassment scandal, the three-term governor of New York was driven from office more swiftly than expected.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was unable to withstand a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that led most of his allies to abandon him.
“What he did to me was a crime,” said Brittany Commisso, identified in a report from the state attorney general as “Executive Assistant #1.”
Sexual harassment is, unfortunately, always in the news. Of late, it’s revelations at gaming giants and governments. Yet despite how prevalent harassment is, companies often adopt an “it can’t happen here” stance — until it does, and then there are knee-jerk reactions and crisis communications.
A better approach: recognizing how pervasive it is and planning with that in mind.
When I first started Ethena, I explained the concept of innovative harassment prevention training to my father. Like any good parent, he thought my entrepreneurial genius was actually a terrible idea and advised me to stay put at my job. But when he finally accepted that I was going to start this company, he said, “Make sure you don’t have harassment at your company. That would be bad.”
He’s not wrong. My team provides a modern compliance training platform. Since our first product was harassment prevention training, it would be pretty bad if we were talking the talk without walking the walk.
Train your team members to better understand inclusion and recognize what harassment looks like so the bar is set higher than “let’s just not get sued.”
If I could prevent workplace harassment on optimism alone, I absolutely would. But I’ve seen the data on the prevalence of workplace harassment.
A 2018 Pew survey, for example, found that 59% of women and 27% of men reported experiencing sexual harassment. And the rise of remote work hasn’t changed things. In fact, there are some indications that harassment is on the rise thanks to “keyboard courage.”
Knowing that, I’ve come to terms with the fact that these are issues we’ll likely face, so I want us to be prepared. Today’s workplace demands that leaders acknowledge gray areas and engage with uncomfortable topics; it’s how companies grow in new and healthy directions. Here’s how we think about that growth.
Plan for it
As a Floridian, I grew up assuming hurricanes would hit my house. We always had some plywood and canned food because when you know something is going to happen, you plan for it.
Unlike prepared Floridians, startups tend to adopt an ostrich approach when it comes to harassment. Instead of stocking the pantry, so to speak, companies wait until they’re already in a storm.
Early on, a startup is a small group of (usually homogeneous) friends, and it’s uncomfortable to acknowledge that bad things could happen. It’s much easier to hope that building a team of stellar humans is enough.
But, unfortunately, bad things do happen, because sometimes harassment is not as cut-and-dry as we are led to believe. Rather, harassment often grows from the complexities of human interactions– intent, perception, privilege and context, to name a few. It can start with a few small jokes, a colleague who gets drunkenly inappropriate every Friday, or a team that never seems to hire anyone outside of their social circle.
Then, things can escalate, and people start to realize that what they’re actually experiencing is a hostile work environment. Unfortunately, at that point, it’s really hard to right the ship because the company is suddenly 600 people and change gets harder as companies grow.
Knowing that problems are more likely as companies scale, it’s vital that teams prepare by learning how to identify warning signs early. At a bare minimum, train your team members to recognize what workplace harassment looks like and better understand inclusion so that the bar is set higher than “let’s just not get sued.”
Out of everyone at the company, managers really need to get the memo. As a company scales, senior leaders have a limited span of control, so frontline managers become the most crucial employees in either promoting or preventing inclusive workplaces. It just so happens that training is legally required in states like California and New York.
Make feedback, not just “tell HR,” an option
The traditional way that harassment is talked about is very binary. Either a workplace is perfectly inclusive or it’s a toxic cesspool. Obviously, it’s important to take these issues seriously, but the problem with treating every act as either fine or serious, capital-H harassment is that it gives employees a choice between bad and worse.
Let’s say Elena is on an engineering pod with Jonah, and Jonah occasionally does small things that cause her to feel less than included.
For example, they’re hiring for a new front-end engineer and Jonah always refers to this future hire as “he.” In the traditional, frowny-faced lawyer version of harassment, Elena has two options”
- Do nothing: Bad because Jonah is going to keep doing it.
- Tell HR: Also bad. Elena doesn’t want to get Jonah fired. She just wants him to be more inclusive.
However, if training teaches Elena — and, ideally, everyone else on her team — to say something in the moment, Elena now has a tool she can actually use.
Next time Jonah says, “OK so when he joins…” Elena can jump in with, “Unless you’re psychic, which seems unlikely given how poorly you did in Fantasy Football, please use ‘they’ to refer to our new hire, since we don’t know their gender.”
Did Elena need to insert the burn? Probably not, but humor can diffuse a tense situation so sure, why not? Regardless, once Elena says something, it’s on Jonah to accept her feedback and make a change; and, if team values are clear, hopefully Jonah’s colleagues will hold Jonah accountable, too.
Accountability is everything
This last lesson is only applicable after something at the company happens. Let’s say Jonah’s comments escalate, even after Elena gives feedback. Jonah consistently excludes Elena and other women from key meetings, talks over them, and when confronted, says, “Look, we all know they’re only here for diversity stats.”
If Jonah’s manager at this fictitious, problematic company does nothing, that’s the ballgame. There’s literally no amount of workshops, training, blog posts or all-hands meetings that can convince Elena that the company cares. Actions speak loudest.
The best possible version of dealing with an issue involves transparency so that people can learn from what happened and see that the company does care. Obviously, it’s hard when issues involve private information and protecting those who reported the issues, but to the extent possible, it’s crucial to have accountability.
Of course, my dad is right: Harassment at my company would be bad. But we’re preparing for it because scaling a company means rapidly increasing the number of human interactions.
Thankfully, building an inclusive company looks a lot like building a good company – preparation, feedback and accountability are managerial best practices that should be put in place early.
The governor’s strategist helped lead efforts to retaliate against one of the women who accused him of sexual harassment, the attorney general’s report found.
The R&B singer has faced a trail of accusations since 1996. On Monday, he goes on trial in Brooklyn.
Cuomo, time’s up.
The non-grabby Cuomo doesn’t look good, either.
The governor has suffered consequential defections from core constituencies, including labor, white suburban lawmakers and Black political leaders.
The new account of a state trooper bolsters a meticulous new report on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s misdeeds — and how his inner circle allowed such conduct to fester.
Maxwell Berry, 22, of Norwalk, Ohio, punched a Frontier Airlines flight attendant and groped two others on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami, the authorities said.
The detention of Kris Wu, a popular Canadian singer, has been hailed as a rare victory for the movement. But Beijing, wary of social activism, has cast it as a warning to celebrities.
Mitchell Taylor Button was accused of abuse, and his wife, Dusty Button, a dancer with a large Instagram following, was accused of participating in some of it but not named as a defendant.
Judith Mogul, a special counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was a central figure in at least one of the harassment complaints against the governor.
Alen Hadzic of New Jersey is an alternate on the U.S. fencing team but has not been allowed to stay in the Olympic Village.
One of the world’s biggest video game companies is reeling after a state discrimination and sexual harassment suit kicked off a firestorm of controversy within the company. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard last week, alleging that the company fostered a “breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women.”
Following a combative response to the lawsuit from corporate leadership, a group of employees at Blizzard will stage a walkout, which is planned for Wednesday at 10 a.m. PDT. Most employees at Blizzard continue to work remotely, but walkout participants will gather tomorrow at the gates to the company’s Irvine campus.
“Given last week’s statements from Activision Blizzard, Inc. and their legal counsel regarding the DFEH lawsuit, as well as the subsequent internal statement from Frances Townsend, and the many stories shared by current and former employees of Activision Blizzard since, we believe that our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership,” the organizers wrote.
Activision Blizzard publishes some of the biggest titles in gaming, including the Call of Duty franchise, World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Overwatch. Blizzard came under Activision’s wing through a 2008 merger and the subsidiary operates out of its own Irvine, California headquarters.
In the suit, the state agency describes a “frat house” atmosphere in which women are not only not afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts, but are routinely and openly harassed, sometimes by their superiors.
The company pushed back last week in a fiery statement, blaming “unaccountable state bureaucrats that are driving many of the state’s best businesses out of California” for pursuing the lawsuit. Activision Blizzard Executive Vice President Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to George W. Bush, echoed that aggressive messaging in an internal memo, slamming the lawsuit as a “distorted and untrue picture of our company.”
In an open letter published Monday, the walkout’s organizers condemned Blizzard’s response to the lawsuit’s allegations. “We believe these statements have damaged our ongoing quest for equality inside and outside of our industry,” they wrote. “ … These statements make it clear that our leadership is not putting our values first.”
More than 2,600 employees signed the letter, which demands an end to mandatory arbitration clauses that “protect abusers and limit the ability of victims to seek restitution,” improved representation and opportunities for women and nonbinary employees, salary transparency and a full audit of diversity, equity and inclusion at the company.
On Twitter, streamers, gamers, game devs and former employees expressed support for Wednesday’s walkout under the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout, with some calling for a blackout on Activision Blizzard games as a show of solidarity. Others called for streamers to use the walkout time slot to raise awareness about rampant sexual harassment and discrimination in gaming culture at large.
One Blizzard employee shared a photo of the company’s iconic statue depicting an axe-wielding orc, a central feature of its Irvine headquarters. Three plaques displaying corporate values that surround the statue had been covered with paper: “Lead responsibly,” “play nice, play fair,” and “every voice matters.”
Amar Ramasar, a principal dancer who was denounced by colleagues for sharing vulgar texts, will leave the company in May.
In the wake of a sexual harassment and pay-disparity lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard, an internal petition has begun circulating at the gaming company. Its text, as independently verified by multiple outlets, comes down against leadership’s public and private response to the suit’s allegations.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier and Kotaku’s Ethan Gach reprinted content from the same petition, and both reporters claim that the petition has racked up “over 1,000 signatures” from current and former Activision Blizzard staffers as of press time. The petition begins by describing a public company statement offered in the wake of July 20’s lawsuit, and a private, staffwide memo sent by Activision executive vice president Frances Townsend, as “abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for.”
“We will not be silenced”
Activision Blizzard’s statements from lawyers and executives last week alleged that the California State’s lawsuit’s allegations were “distorted, and in many cases false,” and the petition aims its words squarely at that characterization. The letter argues that such a corporate response “creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims” and “casts doubt on our organizations’ ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future.”
An investigation by the New York State attorney general describes a culture of widespread sexual harassment and retaliation at the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group.
On Wednesday, a California State agency filed a lawsuit against the game publisher Activision Blizzard over allegations of rampant sexual discrimination and sexual harassment. The nature of this harassment is so widespread, the lawsuit claims, that women who have worked for the game maker “almost universally confirmed that working for Defendants was akin to working in a frat house”—which, according to this lawsuit, means a workplace full of inebriated men who sexually harassed their female colleagues sans punishment.
The 29-page lawsuit claims that across the entire corporation, pay disparity led to women receiving “less total compensation than their male counterparts while performing substantially similar work.” It includes multiple alleged examples of Activision Blizzard slowing promotions for women in favor of male counterparts, even when those women had longer tenures and a superior review record at the company, and added that women of color were “particularly targets of Defendants’ discriminatory practices.” And it described an office environment where inebriated men sexually harassed their female colleagues without being punished.
A direct report to Blizzard’s president
The full lawsuit includes a lengthy list of violations of both sexual discrimination and sexual harassment, including many that single out unnamed Activision Blizzard staffers, and they range from explicit to repugnant. The lawsuit describes one particularly extreme example of alleged harassment—and says the sufferer eventually took her own life.
The lawsuit says women at the gaming company were paid less and discriminated against, and it described a culture of sexual harassment.
The proposals come months after Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, was raped and murdered. She had gone missing as she walked home from a friend’s house in South London.
While the Me Too movement led to greater awareness about the prevalence of rape, prosecutors in New York City still struggle to prove sexual assault accusations.