Activision-Blizzard is under more scrutiny as the U.S. Security and Exchange Committee has officially started an investigation on the company as of yesterday. This comes after California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing started their own case against the company a few months ago. To refresh, the DFEH sued Activision-Blizzard after investigations showed that they had a ‘frat boy culture’ and rampant sexual harassment within the company. After this broke, we saw a lot of firings of problematic employees, the formation of the ABK Workers Alliance, and famous union busters Wilmerhale be brought in. The last update we made, less than a week ago, was the ABK Coalition suing the company for unfair labor practices with help from the Communications Workers of America and the company bringing on a new Chief Police Officer and Chief Commercial Officer. Now that you’re quickly caught up let’s get back to current events.
As stated above, the SEC are currently investigating Activision-Blizzard in a separate case from the DFEH, the United States federal government being involved is a big change to the current situation because, while not certain, it can create big changes within the industry. Look no further than when the government made a fuss over ultra-violent games of the past, which resulted in the ESRB after the 1993 Congressional hearings, which still runs to this day. The SEC has subpoenaed CEO Bobby Kotick (one of the few mentioned in the initial lawsuit from the DFEH) and several senior executives regarding board meetings since 2019, personnel files of six former employees, and separation agreements the company has reached this year with staffers. Activision-Blizzardfor their part claimed to cooperating with the SEC, but it wasn’t too long ago that the DFEH alleged that the company was being uncooperative with its investigation.
To add onto this, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also came forward saying that for the past year they have been investigating Activision-Blizzard. There isn’t much on this front however, other than Bobby Kotick giving a press release committing to cooperating with all legal parties and making the company “one of the best, most inclusive places to work anywhere.”
Another update before this piece went live was the exiting of Activision-Blizzard’s Chief Legal Officer, Claire Hart, on her LinkedIn profile. She gave no reasoning as to her departure, only that she will be taking a break from the industry for some time. No news on who will take her place as of now.
It seems news is starting to come out faster and faster now, as the metaphorical engines starts turning more and more, so stay tuned to GPN to keep up to date with the news.
In an update following this article’s release; head of Overwatch 2, Chacko Sonny, is leaving Activision-Blizzard according to Bloomberg. Chacko, for his part, did not give a reason for his departure. A Blizzard spokesperson claims that Overwatch 2 is “in the final stages of production”. So, it’s not clear if this has anything to do with the recent lawsuits aimed at the company.