Mixed-reality startup Magic Leap has been hit with a lawsuit that alleges it has fostered a work environment that's rife with misogyny.
The Florida-based company is also accused of using misleading marketing materials in its advertisements and promotions, giving consumers a false impression of its product's capabilities.
Magic Leap has attracted $1.4 billion in funding, as it prepares its secretive mixed-reality technology for commercial release. Mixed reality has potential applications both inside and outside of game development.
As seen on Scribd, the lawsuit was filed by Magic Leap's former vice president of strategic marketing and brand identity, Tannen Campbell, who was let go by the company earlier this year.
In the lawsuit, Campbell claims that she was fired because Magic Leap CEO, Rony Abovitz, refused to acknowledge and tackle that workplace sexism.
As such, Magic Leap is being accused of violating the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that employers must not discriminate against staff based on their sex, race, color, national origin, or religion.
"[These workplace issues] renders it so dysfunctional it continues to delay the launch of a product that attracted billions of investment dollars," reads the lawsuit, highlighting the huge financial backing Magic Leap has received since being founded in 2010.
Indeed, the company is currently valued at over $1 billion and has raised massive sums from investors around the world, despite not having released a single consumer product.
Referring to Campell's claims of false advertising, the lawsuit also posits that the images and videos presented on Magic Leap's website and YouTube are purely "aspirational."
"Campbell […] had to endure hostile environment [and] sexual discrimination while proposing ways, not only to make Magic Leap’s product more woman friendly, but also to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive," continues the lawsuit.
"Campbell was terminated after she, like the child in 'The Emperor’s New Clothes' who blurted out that the Emperor was naked, challenged Magic Leap’s CEO, Rony Abovitz to acknowledge the depths of misogyny in Magic Leap's culture and take steps to correct a gender imbalance that negatively affects the company's core culture."
Gamasutra has reached out to Magic Leap for comment. In the meantime, you can read the full lawsuit for yourself below.