In response to the current lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, images have surfaced of the infamous ‘Cosby Suite’ once used by a group of employees.
The suite was a nickname for the hotel room of Alex Afrasiabi used at the 2013 Blizzcon event, and a reference to previously convicted rapist Bill Cosby.
Afrasiabi worked on World of Warcraft, eventually becoming creative director. He is the only person to be named outright in the lawsuit (aside from Blizzard President J. Allen Brack) and has since left the company.
An article by Kotaku shows images and comments posted on Facebook, which were acquired by a former Blizzard employee, and which detail the various goings-on in the so-called ‘Cosby Suite’.
The hotel room was an alcohol-filled meeting place where employees posed with an actual photo of Bill Cosby. It’s also alleged that the hotel suite was known as a place junior staff could network with top designers to make inroads at the company.
The images include various members of Blizzard staff, not just Afrasiabi, including at least one member of the HR team.
A screenshot of a group chat named the ‘BlizzCon Cosby Crew’ has been published. It includes a conversation that appears to show Blizzard designer David Kosak discussing the suite with other employees, starting with: “I am gathering the hot chixx for the Coz.”
Afrasiabi replies “Bring em”, to which Kosak replies “You can’t marry ALL of them Alex”. “I can, I’m middle eastern,” says Afrasiabi. Jesse McCree, who currently works at Blizzard as a lead game designer, replies, “You misspelled f*ck.”
The Cosby Suite group chat. (Kotaku)
Cory Stockton, another lead designer currently at Blizzard, describes the group chat as “Possibly the greatest group chat in the history of mankind” in a Facebook comment.
The room was said to be a reference to Cosby’s ugly sweaters due to the dated, drab interior of the hotel room. However, the images acquired by Kotaku all show a non-descript generic white hotel room.
It’s clear, too, that most of the conversations around the ‘Cosby Suite’ were sexual in nature. Other sources interpret the suite name as a reference to the allegations against Cosby.
“It was such a boys club that creating something like the ‘Cosby Suite’ was seen as funny,” says a source.
Activision Blizzard staff staged a formal walkout on 28 July, demanding leadership improve the working conditions for marginalised groups including women of colour and trans people.
CEO Bobby Kotick has issued an apology, admitting the company response to the lawsuit was “tone deaf”.
He also said that inappropriate content would be removed from Activision Blizzard games. This appears to address references to Afrasiabi in World of Warcraft.