It seems that we can wrap up one of the handful of lawsuits against Activision-Blizzard as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reached a settlement with the company about workplace issues. As a quick reminder, the company is in hot waters because of the rampant sexual harassment many of the women in the company witnessed and faced while working there, which has spiraled out of their control and has put them in the cross-hairs of numerous lawsuits as well the U.S. government.
The latest development between the EEOC and Activision-Blizzard settles for a large $18 million fund “to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants.” according to a press release. Any funds not used by claimants will be divided into charities that “advance women in the video game industry or promote awareness around harassment and gender equality issues as well as company diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives”, which will have to be approved by the EEOC. Alongside the fee, Activision-Blizzard announced initiatives to develop software tools and training programs to improve work place policies and practices for employees across the company, hopefully leading to change within the company.
CEO Bobby Kotick gave a comment, saying “There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind, and I am grateful to the employees who bravely shared their experiences. I am sorry that anyone had to experience inappropriate conduct, and I remain unwavering in my commitment to make Activision Blizzard one of the world’s most inclusive, respected, and respectful workplaces.” Kotick was one of a few named specifically in the initial DFEH investigation and is currently under subpoena.
$18 million may sound like a lot of money to the average person (and it is!), but it is a cruel reminder that Kotick himself got $150 million alone from shareholders in a close vote. That’s not to say how much Activision-Blizzard as a company has earned this year alone, according to Statista the company made more than $800 million in the second quarter of their fiscal year. A drop in the perennial bucket, if you will.
There’s no telling what will happen next, but what we do know is that this is not the end for Activision-Blizzard, so keep in touch with us here over at GPN to get the latest developments.