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Blizzard Activision execs subpoenaed by SEC over handling of abuse allegations

A report from the Washington Post has revealed that Activision Blizzard’s woes stemming from a lawsuit filed against the company by the State of California are far from over. According to the report, the company is currently the focus of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over its handling of sexual misconduct and abuse allegations. The investigation has led to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, along with other high-ranking executives at the company, being subpoenaed.

According to the report, the SEC’s focus is on finding out whether Activision Blizzard shared information about accusations of workplace discrimination and sexual harassment with “investors and other parties.” To that end, the SEC has requested a vast number of documents from the company, including personnel files, separation agreements, meeting minutes reaching back to 2019, and Kotick’s communications with other executives regarding sexual harassment complaints at the company.

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The SEC’s involvement, asan arm of the federal government, significantly steps up the pressure being put on the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher since a lawsuit was filed against it by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing in July. The suit alleges that women at the company were sexually harassed and regularly paid less than their male counterparts, most commonly at Blizzard Entertainment. Since the lawsuit, employees at Blizzard have walked out and the company’s president, J. Allen Brack, has stepped down.

Activision Blizzard’s immediate response to the SEC has been civil, with a representative for the company saying that it “is cooperating with the SEC.” Activision Blizzard’s first response to the California lawsuit was nearly the opposite, with the company saying that it included “distorted” information. However, Kotick walked those comments back soon after, saying they were “tone-deaf.”

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