Over the last few months, many disturbing details about Activision Blizzard, the developers of games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch, have come to light. These details include what the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has described as a “frat boy” culture where sexual harassment and poor working conditions ran rampant. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Activision Blizzard, including one by the California DFEH and another by its own employees for “unfair labor practices.”
Activision Blizzard is reportedly now also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the way the company has chosen to handle multiple sexual misconduct allegations within the company is one of the lead causes of the SEC investigation. According to the report, Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick, and others at the company have been subpoenaed for the investigation.
Federal securities regulators have launched a wide-ranging investigation into Activision Blizzard Inc., including how the video game-publishing giant handled employees’ allegations of sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination, according to people familiar with the investigation and documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Activision, known for its Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush franchises, and several of its senior executives, including longtime Chief Executive Bobby Kotick, according to the people and documents.
The report goes on to state that one of the major focuses of the SEC investigation is going to be about how Activision Blizzard handled many of the sexual misconduct and gendered pay disparity allegations that led to the original California DFEH lawsuit.
The fallout of the allegations stated in the California DFEH lawsuit has led to multiple employees leaving the company, an employee walkout, and the change of the DPS cowboy character in the game Overwatch.