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US Government is investigating Activision Blizzard — Bobby Kotick served summons

The Activision Blizzard debacle continues, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation of the publisher’s workplace practices, as well as having served a summons to CEO, Bobby Kotick, and several high-ranking executives.

Activision Blizzard has been accused of harboring numerous of deplorable things under its prestigious veneer of being a games company that cares about diversity and inclusivity within its entertainment: sexual harassment, racism, homophobia, and so much more. It should also be noted that, back when the investigations against Activision Blizzard from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing first came to light, the work culture at Activision Blizzard was likened to being that of a ‘frat’ house.

The investigation from the SEC means that the Overwatch and World of Warcraft publisher will have to hand over a variety of documents. As Kotaku summarises, these documents are expected to likely be personnel files of the Activision Blizzard executives mentioned by the SEC, as well as communications from Bobby Kotick surrounding his and the publisher’s response to the allegations of harassment and the toxic workplace there.

The investigation has been confirmed by Activision spokesperson Helaine Klasky, via the Wall Street Journal. She stated that the reason for this investigation is to focus on “the company’s disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues” and that Activision Blizzard is “cooperating with the SEC.”

The publisher’s alleged treatment of its employees includes stories of how Activision Blizzard developers experienced things such as “propositions for sex, sexual harassment on their first day, and shoulder rubs that were unwanted.” LGBTQIA+ and marginalized employees also didn’t feel safe. A former engineer for Blizzard Entertainment, Cher Scarlett, also confirmed that that devs often played ‘gay chicken’ with one another – a game that encouraged others to grope their male colleague’s genitals.

Yet in spite of all of this alleged behaviour towards their employees, what seems to have got Activision Blizzard’s backs against the wall is their investors not being all too pleased with the company’s reputation being hung, drawn and quartered in public. It also doesn’t help that their shareholders aren’t pleased with the response to the DFEH lawsuit either. No matter how you look at it, it doesn’t look good for Activision Blizzard or Bobby Kotick.

The investigation of Activision Blizzard is still ongoing.


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