The feds are now investigating Activision-Blizzard as the SEC subpoenas execs including Bobby Kotick

    
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Twists.

Early on in our coverage of the Activision-Blizzard sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit scandal, we noted that the company’s response took some ineffective swipes at the state of California bureau heading the investigation and all but threatened to leave the state over the suit. Activision-Blizzard may want to set aside that posturing now, as it’ll have nowhere to go: The US Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating the company over the allegations as part of a federal probe.

As first reported in the Wall Street Journal, the SEC has subpoenaed Activision along with executives including no less than Bobby Kotick himself, seeking everything from personnel files and board meeting minutes to termination documents and Kotick’s communications relating to employee complaints. Activision confirmed the investigation to WSJ and said it’s “cooperating with the SEC.”

Readers will recall that in July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a civil rights and equal pay lawsuit against the company on behalf of its victimized employees following a two-year investigation. The company was initially defiant, but a steady flow of accusations, leaks, memos, and evidence ultimately led to protests, apologies, multiple fired staffers and executives, sponsors abandoning Blizzard esports, and a rising labor movement within the company – a labor movement whose demands have gone mostly unaddressed by Activision-Blizzard, unless you count its contracting of a union-busting firm. Just in the last month, California amended its lawsuit with allegations that Activision-Blizzard has been illegally interfering with witnesses and destroying evidence. “[D]ocuments related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel,” the state says.

The investigation couldn’t come at a worse time for Blizzard itself; the studio has pinned a great many of its hopes on the Diablo II: Resurrected remaster launching this week.

Here’s the whole saga:

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Strykr619

LOL at the FBI, meanwhile the Biden admin misallocating funds GIVEN by congress for the border wall, leaving American’s behind in Afghanistan etc etc and this is what they are investigating ?

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Philip Armstrong

I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Feds right now, they did a bang up job with US Olympics and Larry Nassar

HalLundy
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HalLundy

MOP as usual doing a better job at journalism than almost all other game websites out there.

Good work!

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IronSalamander8 .

As someone who never liked Blizzard much (I did love Activision as a kid as they made some great games for the Atari 2600 and my Commodore 64, but that’s been a long time), I’m still amazed that they’re even worse than I expected. One wonders will all this will end up when the dust settles.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

I want to believe…

ceo no pass go.png
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Utakata

The Murloc token is a nice touch, Mr. Schlag. <3

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Schlag Sweetleaf

<3

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Paragon Lost

Such a great song and album. 🤙😎

Stefan
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Stefan

Sadly even the prisons are different for those with money and those without.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Guessing this is all about whether Activision-Blizzard properly reported to the SEC on their quarterly and annual filings; essentially whether they properly reported to their shareholders of known complaints that could impact their stock price.

If they left off legal actions, either by individual employees or DFEH, they could face hand-slapping by the SEC in the form of fines, which could be in the millions of dollars depending on what the SEC discovers and how long Acti-Blizz played button-button with the SEC reporting.

The SEC rarely takes anyone to court, but they do level fines from time to time.

I suspect the issue here may be one of perception. If corporations are willfully ignoring the SEC rules, then that undermines the force of SEC regulations. If the SEC doesn’t police corporations for violations of its regulations, then it becomes a toothless watchdog.

So my guess is this is about taking Acti-Blizz’s very public flouting of the law to task and making them pay for making the SEC look lame.

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Tuor of Gondolin

It never rains but it pours.

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wjowski

As a shareholder nothing gives me confidence more than the CEO of the company I’m invested in being dragged into questioning by the SEC

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Utakata

I don’t expect this to go anywhere, unless they can find something that’ll stick. It’ll be nice to see Bobby squirm in the meantime though.

Leo
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Leo

Might lower the stock value at the least, which is what Bobby cares most of (besides the money he gets from ActBlizz of course)

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mars omg

Remember, the little people in the animations, mocap, story , concept art ect are the ones who build the games. If you love the games , you don’t need to protest anything. The protest happened; the disenfranchised won and blizzard is moving on.

Really, it’s not like they are funcom… -_-

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Bruno Brito

the disenfranchised won

What did they win?

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mars omg

Their dignity.

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somber_bliss

That don’t pay the bills.

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mars omg

what does that even mean? Are you willing to sell your dignity for such low standards ?

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Bruno Brito

You’re joking, right? Dignity won’t bring the girl who killed herself back.

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mars omg

Suicide is usually compounded by prior mental health issues. It’s awful that someone thought killing themselves was the only way out. To blame a company as a whole for that decision is not logical.

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Boe_Jlobers

What happened with funcom?

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mars omg

The year 2008, the most anticipated pvp game of the 21st century was released …
https://kotaku.com/conan-gm-cybersexes-troll-with-predictable-results-5035208

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Axetwin .

The SEC seems to disagree.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

You’re right, they are not Funcom. They are much worse since someone committed suicide because of the harassment. Activision-Blizzard needs to be boycotted until people like Kotick and Townsend are sent packing with all the others.