The US Securities and Exchange Commission – better known as the SEC – is the latest government agency to launch an investiagtion into Activision Blizzard, as The Wall Street Journal [paywall] reports. The agency has subpoenaed the publisher and its CEO, Bobby Kotick, for records related to employment, separation agreements, and communications between senior executives.
The SEC, if you need a quick primer, is a government agency that primarily deals with protecting investors and maintaining the status quo of stock markets. Given that we've already seen movements from shareholders eager to sue Activision Blizzard for hiding the sexual harassment probe before it went mainstream, the involvement of the SEC now is no big surpirse.
As per The Wall Street Journal, the SEC has requested documents going as far back as 2019 in an effort to review communications between Activision Blizzard executives regarding complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination.
These actions have been taken so that the SEC can learn more information about the company’s handling of sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations. These allegations have been ongoing since Activision Blizzard was accused by the State of California of fostering a culture rife with discrimination, abuse, sexual harassment, and more. The ongoing lawsuit has already lead to some of those in higher positions leaving the company.
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack has already departed the company, leaving Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra to co-lead Blizzard. Activision Blizzard has also confirmed that HR executive, Jesse Meschuk (who had been at the company for 12 years), also left this in August.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson said the company was cooperating with the SEC.
Thanks, The Verge.