Report: Securities and Exchange Commission investigating Activision Blizzard over sexual assault lawsuit handling

The U.S. federal government is getting involved in the Activision Blizzard case.

Image via Activision Blizzard

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched an investigation into Activision Blizzard over a multitude of issues, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Chief among these issues is how Activision Blizzard has allegedly been handling its DFEH lawsuit. The Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch publisher has been accused of destroying evidence pertaining to a massive lawsuit launched against it that centers around allegations of extreme sexual misconduct and workplace discrimination.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that Activision Blizzard has been subpoenaed along with several of its high-ranking executives, including CEO Bobby Kotick, who was compensated $30.1 million in 2019.

The SEC is asking for multiple documents, including transcripts of board meetings since 2019, separation agreements with staffers, and personnel files. An Activision Blizzard spokesperson confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that the scope of the subpoenas covers both former and current employees.

In July, the California DFEH brought an explosive lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, alleging that the company harbored a “frat boy culture” fraught with harassment of its female employees. The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard employees engaged in a practice called “cube crawls” where they would drink excessively while moving around the workplace. Harassment was especially potent during these times.

Another lawsuit, filed in September, alleges that Activision Blizzard engaged in intimidation and coercive tactics to convince its employees to drop talks of pay discrepancy and ending forced arbitration.

The SEC functions as federal protection for investors, who have filed a class-action lawsuit against Activision Blizzard as well. The deadline for those who have purchased securities in Activision Blizzard to join in the lawsuit is today, Sept. 20. The class-action, investor-led lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard failed its investors by not revealing the scope or severity of the DFEH’s pending lawsuit against the company, thereby misleading those who wanted to invest in the company’s future.