Activision Blizzard is being investigated by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission following allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct.
The latest report comes from The Wall Street Journal where it was reported that the SEC has subpoenaed the company along with several current and former employees – including CEO Bobby Kotick – following the publisher’s handling of the lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July.
SEC is reportedly looking into whether Activision adequately disclosed the allegations to investors and is requesting documents from Activision Blizzard. This includes personnel files of six previous employees, as well as records of Kotick’s communications with executives relating to the allegations.
In a statement to the WSJ, Activision spokesperson Helaine Klasky confirmed that SEC is investigating the publisher, saying it is “cooperating with the SEC” with “the company’s disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues.”
In July, Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after accusations from employees that they’ve faced “constant sexual harassment, including groping, comments, and advances” in the workplace.
The lawsuit also alleges that “female employees working for the World of Warcraft team noted that male employees and supervisors would hit on them, make derogatory comments about rape, and otherwise engage in demeaning behaviour.” The suit goes on to claim that women of colour at Activision Blizzard were “particularly vulnerable targets” of discrimination.
Following the lawsuit, in August, the publisher was sued again by an investor for allegedly hiding the severity of an investigation into sexual harassment and workplace allegations, with the suit stating shareholders were “economically damaged” after Activision Blizzard reportedly downplayed and buried California’s investigation.
Last week (September 15) another lawsuit was filed by Communications Workers of America which accuses the publisher of coercive and intimidating behaviour.
Since the first lawsuit was filed, multiple employees at the publisher had left the company due to the allegations, including three senior Blizzard Entertainment employees as well as Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack and Jesse Meschuk, the former senior vice president of HR.