Activision Blizzard Responds To SEC Investigation, Says It's Making Changes

The Call of Duty and Warcraft giant says it is working in good faith with regulators and implementing its own internal changes.

As it faces ongoing scrutiny and a new investigation from the US government, Activision Blizzard released a statement on Tuesday saying it is committed to working with regulators to change its workplace policies to become more inclusive.

CEO Bobby Kotick said in a statement that the gaming giant is "deeply committed to making Activision Blizzard one of the best, most inclusive places to work anywhere." He added that "discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind" have no place at Activision Blizzard.

"While we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace issues, we also continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work. We remain committed to addressing all workplace issues in a forthright and prompt manner," Kotick said.

Activision Blizzard is working with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing with the aim of "improving its workplace policies and procedures and ensuring compliance."

The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently served subpoenas to Activision Blizzard management, including Kotick. In response to this, Activision Blizzard said that the company is "confident in its prior disclosures and is cooperating with the SEC's investigation."

Activision Blizzard also said in its statement that it has already taken action to improve its workplace by firing certain employees, or "exiting" them, in the term used in the news release. Activision Blizzard also noted that it is "expanding compliance resources" and "refreshed" its HR organization. What's more, the company pointed out that it just recently hired Disney's Julie Hodges to become Activision Blizzard's new Chief People Officer, while it has done more in the way of providing "training, performance management, and anti-harassment resources."

The SEC is asking Activision Blizzard to turn over board meeting notes since 2019, personnel files of six former employees, and other documents. The SEC is also calling on Activision Blizzard to release Kotick's own notes with senior executives pertaining to complaints about sexual harassment and discrimination.

The SEC primarily deals with financial matters, and the government group in this case is attempting to learn if Activision Blizzard acted properly with regards to the disclosure of allegations of harassment, discrimination, and gender-pay issues with investors and other key stakeholders.

The case against Activision Blizzard took off earlier this year when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company for sexual harassment and discrimination against women. California updated its lawsuit in late August, accusing Activision Blizzard of shredding evidence related to the investigation.

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