Activision Blizzard Is Now Under Investigation By The SEC (UPDATED w/response)

Agency has subpoenaed CEO Bobby Kotick, wants to see his personal communications.

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor September 20, 2021
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The Securities and Exchange Comission is now getting in on the action against Activision Blizzard. The Wall Street Journal has learned that the SEC has launched a "wide-ranging investigation" into how the developer and publisher "handled employees' allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination."

The SEC has issued subpoenas for several high-ranking executives of the company, including CEO Bobby Kotick, and is asking for several documents, including minutes from board meetings dating back to 2019. (Let's hope those haven't been "accidentally" shredded.)

The agency's other requests include the personnel files of six former employees and separation agreements, as well as "Kotick's communications with other senior executives regarding complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination by Activision employees or contractors."

Today's news of the SEC investigation led to Activision Blizzard's stock dropping by 4.7%.

Maybe it's paradoxical, or maybe I'm being overly cynical, but the more I hear about all this, and all the lawsuits and investigations, the more trouble I have believing that anything truly significant will come of it all. It sounds like we're too eager to cheer "Now they're really in trouble!" without understanding all the back-room dealing that will probably go on over the next few months or years to facilitate as light a sentence as possible, especially for the people at the top. The last few years of politics have immunized me against the notion that powerful people will ever be held responsible for their actions, so I hope you'll forgive me if I don't get my hopes up too high that this investigation will be the one. I'll be happy to be wrong; until then, I'll just wait until the real consequences come down.

UPDATE, Sept. 21: Activision Blizzard has responded to yesterday's news, issuing a statement this morning. It stated that the company "has cooperated with the EEOC’s investigation" and is complying with the subpoena from the SEC. It highlighted the changes it has made since the allegations came to light, including "exiting a number of employees, and expanding compliance resources," as well as having "refreshed its HR organization" and welcoming a new Chief People Officer. Kotick himself was quoted as saying that the company will "continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work."

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In this article: Blizzard, Activision.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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