8th

The US government’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Activision Blizzard for its handling of sexual misconduct and harassment allegations. This came just two months after the Call of Duty publishers were sued by a State Department for alleged workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Now the SEC has summoned a number of high-ranking executives, including allegedly CEO Bobby Kotick, and requested internal documents on the allegations.

According to The Wall Street Journal (look out for the paywall), the SEC has launched a “far-reaching” investigation into Activision Blizzard. They allegedly want to see records of Kotick’s communications with other executives about the allegations, the personnel files of six former employees, severance agreements for employees who left this year, and notes from board meetings from 2019.

The Wall Street Journal says the SEC is investigating whether the allegations should have been disclosed to investors before the first lawsuit was made public. It’s clear that some investors believe they should have found out sooner, as several of them sued Activision Blizzard last month, claiming the publisher misled them about the severity of the investigation.

In a new statement released today, Activision tells Blizzard that it is working with a number of labor inspectorates that are conducting investigations, including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the SEC. They confirmed that the SEC issued a subpoena “to the company and several current and former employees and officers for disclosures on employment and related matters,” but did not confirm exactly who was involved.

“While we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace problems, we also continue our own initiatives to ensure we are the best place to work,” says Kotick. “We remain determined to address all workplace problems directly and immediately.”

Activision Blizzard has come under increasing pressure from a number of different parties since it was first sued. Just last week, a group of workers joined a union on charges of unfair labor practices and charged the company with “intimidation and union busting”.

The original lawsuit against the company was also expanded last month after the California Department for Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) accused Activision Blizzard of destroying documents related to its ongoing investigation. A number of senior employees have also left since the lawsuit was published in July, including Blizzard President J. Allen Brack and a senior HR manager. The Diablo 4 director has also been reportedly sacked.

Imogen Beckhelling

News writer

Imogen is a lore enthusiast and lover of all the fun gimmicks that syndicates make. She spends too much time playing Overwatch and too little time on non-video game interests.

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