Last year the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, which led to various allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal investigated allegations that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick did not disclose a 2018 settlement with an alleged victim of rape at Sledgehammer Games to the Board. Now, a Board of Directors Workplace Responsibility Committee internally investigating the allegations has declared all findings unfounded.
Well. That’s all fine then
“While there are some substantiated instances of gender harassment, those unfortunate circumstances do not support the conclusion that Activision senior leadership or the Board were aware of and tolerated gender harassment or that there was ever a systemic issue with harassment, discrimination, or retaliation,” the Workplace Responsibility Committee told shareholders in a SEC filing June 16.
According to the Wall Street Journal investigation, Kotick allegedly threatened to murder his assistant via a voicemail in 2006. In addition, he was also accused of preventing the co-head of Treyarch, the studio responsible for Call of Duty: Black Ops, Dan Bunting, from being terminated after allegedly committing sexual harassment. Not long after the Wall Street Journal spoke with the company about the allegations, Bunting resigned. However, Bunting’s lawyer, Bobby Schwartz, recently told Kotaku that his client’s departure from the company was unrelated.
Nothing to see here
Activision Blizzard’s internal investigation team based its decision on emails, notes and company documents. The team also interviewed former and current employees as part of the investigation. However, they did not disclose a detailed account of their investigation.
The company’s stance that they are in the clear concerning discrimination and sexual harassment is at odds with the $18 million settlement with the EEOC for victims of the same behaviors.
“What we have come to realize over the past several months is that there are many truths about our company — individual and collective, experiential and data-driven — and sometimes they can be difficult to reconcile,” said the Board. However, the Board did not share just what these unreconcilable truths are.
Looking To The Future
One thing seems clear, Activision Blizzard wants to put these allegations behind them and move on. The company recently brought on Jessica Martinez as VP and head of culture. In addition, Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion to be paid in cash.