Former Activision Blizzard executive sues, claiming he was dismissed due to being an ‘older white male’



James Reid Venable, a 57-year-old previous senior director of business operations, is currently suing his former employer Activision Blizzard for age discrimination. He alleges the company treated him unfairly after he complained about discrimination, claiming that he was laid off for being older and white. Furthermore, Venable has accused the former CEO, Bobby Kotick, of making an ageist comment directed at the “old white guys” at the company. According to the lawsuit, this comment prompted two older white executives to leave the company and led to the promotion of a younger, non-white employee, Jonathan Lee, over more experienced personnel.

Under Lee’s management, Venable received the lowest merit increase in his career at the company and fewer stock options in comparison to younger, non-white colleagues. In addition to this, Venable states that a female employee commented on his “white male privilege” via an email to his boss and HR, which resulted in his complaint about the company’s failure to protect him from discrimination. Subsequently, Venable was dismissed along with seven other older male employees during a company restructuring in August, a move he considers in retaliation for his complaints.

This instance is not the first time Activision Blizzard has encountered discrimination lawsuits. Prior to Venable’s action, the company had settled two similar cases, including a California Civil Rights Department gender discrimination suit where it paid $55 million in damages, mostly to its current and former female employees. Another discrimination lawsuit in September 2021 led to a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where the company agreed to pay $18 million.


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