The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the latest group to join a long line of state and federal bodies in successfully suing Activision Blizzard. The EEOC filed a complaint against Activision Blizzard yesterday, alleging that the company was responsible for employees facing sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, and related retaliation, and now Activision Blizzard has revealed that it has reached a settlement.
"Under the agreement, Activision Blizzard has committed to create an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants," reads the statement issued by the company. "Any amounts not used for claimants will be divided between 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, as approved by the EEOC. The agreement is subject to court approval."
The court documents have revealed that this investigation has been on-going since September 2018 and despite "extensive conciliation discussions" the EEOC has not been able to reach an "acceptable conciliation agreement" until it directly sued the company.
"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," reads a statement from CEO Bobby Kotick. "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."
As per Eurogamer, though, it's hard to take Kotick's words at face value when you know that he will be taking home roughly $154 million in 2021. Seems to dwarf that $18 million, in comparison.
This comes after we've seen a selection of high-profile industry figures leave the company in the wake of the sexual harrassment and discrimination lawsuit that was filed against the publisher back in July.
There have been many milestones in this case; from Bobby Kotick getting subpoenaed as the SEC investigates Activision Blizzard over workplace misconduct to shareholders suing Activision Blizzard for hiding the sexual harassment probe before it went mainstream, it's been a tumultuous few months for the company.