New court documents detail PlayStation maker Sony’s alleged sexism

Eight former and current Sony Interactive Entertainment employees have accused the PlayStation maker of sexism, according to court documents filed Tuesday. Axios first reported the repositories.

Former security analyst Emma Majo filed a lawsuit against Sony for gender discrimination and wrongful termination in November 2021. Majo seeks class-action status to include other employees affected by sexism at the company . Sony filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, citing a lack of details proving “widespread intentional discrimination”.

On Tuesday, Majo’s attorney filed statements of support from seven former PlayStation employees and one current employee. These women provided written statements of support detailing instances of sexism within the company and in multiple offices across the United States. The allegations outlined in these documents range from devaluing the ideas of women and discrimination against mothers to sexual harassment and systemic struggles for women to be promoted.

Stephen Noel Ilg, Majo’s attorney, said in an adjacent statement that several other women feared retaliation from Sony and “were too scared to talk about what had happened in the business.”

Marie Harrington, a former senior director of Sony Interactive left Sony in 2019 due to “systemic sexism against women,” which she reported throughout her career and described in nine pages filed Tuesday. She pointed to instances where women were undervalued over men in “benchmarking sessions,” where leadership highlighted the company’s top performers. In April 2019, Harrington said 70 workers were screened during a calibration session, and only four were women. She also reported an instance where she reported a man’s bullying behavior to her manager: “Can we fix this before PlayStation has its own national press article?” she said. written in an e-mail attached to the file.

Harrington also said Sony men would rank female employees based on their “hotness” and play “lewd jokes and pictures of women”. She also described a case where an engineer asked her not to wear skirts to work “because it distracted him”, and alleged that male engineers went to strip clubs over lunch and shared stories. pornography. In another incident, Harrington says she requested a private lactation room after having twins in 2005. She had to use a “storage room with a broken lock directly off the entry hall.” Harrington wrote that she stopped breastfeeding early “because it wasn’t sustainable under these conditions.”

Other women provided similar examples in their statements. A former employee said she worked directly with four other women during her five years at Sony in the San Mateo and San Francisco offices. All of these women ended up leaving the company “for similar reasons related to gender discrimination, sexual harassment and the inability to get a promotion.” She described instances where men made comments about women not understanding technology, and another time when a senior manager tried to “grasp [her] bosom” at an offsite work event. Another former employee described a similar incident at a work event with alcohol: “A male executive approached me inappropriately. He hugged me tight and whispered in my ear. I left and went to the bathroom and told some female colleagues about it. Shortly after, I changed departments.

Another former employee, Kara Johnson, who left in 2021, wrote a statement to the management of the Sony Women at PlayStation (Women @ PS) group in which she said that at least 10 women had left the Rancho Bernardo office. from Sony in four months. “While some attrition after the launch of the PS5 was expected, the disproportionate number of women leaving alarmed executives.”

A woman called a third-party investigation at Sony that found a “great imbalance in terms of employee distribution” in her team.

Alleged sexual harassment and sexism at Sony is not a problem unique to this company. In recent years, the video game industry has faced pervasive sexism. Riot Games, the developer behind League of Legends, was ordered to pay $100 million to settle a class action lawsuit over gender discrimination at the company following a Kotaku report detailing widespread sexism. Activision Blizzard is also facing multiple lawsuits over its alleged sexist culture. At Ubisoft, the manufacturers of Assassin’s Creed Valhallathe company faces a “great exodus” of workers due to low wages, better opportunities and frustration over allegations of misconduct in the company’s workplace.

The record is not limited to the major studios either: In 2021, Gone home creator Steve Gaynor has stepped down from his role as creative director on Open roads after 10 women left during the game’s development due to his alleged behavior.

Polygon has reached out to Sony for comment. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

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