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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick says publisher is complying with misconduct investigations

Kotick's remarks come immediately after the SEC launched its investigation into the Call of Duty publisher.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 21, 2021

2 Min Read

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claims the publisher is "deeply committed" to reforming its company culture, and is working with regulators to address a number of workplace complaints it has received.

Those comments are part of an official update provided by Activision Blizzard addressing the various harassment, abuse, and misconduct allegations levelled against the company, which have so far resulted in it being sued and investigated by regulators including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Kotick, who has been subpoenaed by the SEC, said the company is complying with those investigations and has already made a number of "important improvements" designed to combat harassment and promote equality.

"We are deeply committed to making Activision Blizzard one of the best, most inclusive places to work anywhere. There is absolutely no place anywhere in our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind," continued Kotick.

"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's remarks come immediately after the SEC launched its investigation into the Call of Duty publisher over reports of misconduct and pay disparity. The DFEH is also suing the company for cultivating a "frat boy" culture that allegedly enabled systemic harassment and abuse.

Notably, Activision Blizzard has been accused by the DFEH of hampering its investigation by shredding documents, while one of the company's own shareholders called its cultural reform plans "deficient" and "inadequate."

The US publisher also initially pushed back against the lawsuit, and claimed the DFEH was pushing an outdated representation of the company's past. Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend echoed those sentiments internally, emailing staff to explain it was the lawsuit--and not the multiple allegations of harassment and abuse--that was damaging the company.

"A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories--some from more than a decade ago," wrote Townsend in an email obtained by Axios and Bloomberg.

In the days after the DFEH filed its lawsuit, more stories of discrimination of harassment were shared publicly, while Activision Blizzard employees also staged a walkout in support of victims.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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