Back in November, a former IT security analyst at PlayStation named Emma Majo was looking to pursue a class-action lawsuit against PlayStation as a representative for women at the company who faced discrimination within Sony. The company denied these claims and asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, but a new development has arisen, as eight other women who worked at PlayStation adding their own accounts to the lawsuit, saying PlayStation is “is not equipped to appropriately handle toxic environments.”
News of this comes from a new report from Axios, which says eight more women have joined the lawsuit, one of which is currently employed at the publisher. Their statements describe discriminatory behaviors, including what Axios lists as “demeaning comments, unwelcome advances, a lack of attention paid to their work or ideas and, most frequently, a sense that it was harder for women to be promoted in the company.”
An example cited by Marie Harrington, who worked at Sony for 16 years, was the list of women considered for senior roles during “calibration sessions,” which included 70 men and only four women. In these meetings, women’s family lives were often referenced, which was reportedly not the case for the men. Another woman pointed to a third-party study that found a “great imbalance in terms of employee distribution” among her team.
Former Program Manager Kara Johnson noted at least ten instances of women leaving the Rancho Bernando office four months prior to her own departure. Among her testimony was a letter she shared with women when she left PlayStation in January, which cited attempts to notify leadership of gender bias and alleged discrimination of pregnant women. Johnson says a senior male in human resources pushed back against any action taken.
In just under an hour, PlayStation holding a State of Play presentation focused on Japanese developers. I’m positive we won’t hear anything about this because this news is coming out so close to the event. But it will be interesting to see if and how PlayStation chooses to acknowledge this publicly. Companies like Activision-Blizzard and Ubisoft are dealing with similar scandals, and their public reaction has been not great as they attempt to push these controversies as far away from their ads as possible.