Activision Blizzard Board Finds ‘No Evidence’ It Ignored or Minimized Harassment

After conducting its own internal investigation, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors says it found “no evidence” to suggest that its senior executives and its own members ignored or minimized gender-based harassment. It also urges its shareholders to vote against an upcoming proposal to report on its own efforts to prevent abuse and harassment.

In a new SEC filing, Activision Blizzard said:

“[T]The Board of Directors and its outside advisors have determined that there is no evidence to suggest that Activision Blizzard senior executives ever intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay instances of gender-based harassment that occurred and were reported. . This work also did not uncover any evidence, direct or indirect, suggesting an attempt by a senior manager or employee to withhold information from the Board. External advisors, after careful review, have also determined that the board has never intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay instances of gender-based harassment that have occurred and been reported.”

The initial state of California complaint, filed after a two-year investigation, accuses company management of knowing about and failing to prevent numerous internal cultural issues. Subsequent reports and lawsuits have also included accusations that incidents were reported and ignored or dismissed with little meaningful consequence for the perpetrators. After the initial list of allegations, more than 20 employees were terminated the following October, and more than 20 others were otherwise disciplined.

Activision Blizzard Lawsuit Timeline: The Story So Far

Notably, Activision Blizzard’s committee response focuses specifically on harassment that “has occurred and been reported” as defined by the company.

Radical Allegations Against Activision Blizzard

The internal investigation in question was first announced in November, following a lawsuit in California and a wave of allegations of abuse, harassment and gender disparities within the organization. company. Among them was the accusation that CEO Bobby Kotick knew about many of the company’s problems but failed to act. Activision Blizzard’s board of directors supported Kotick in a statement at the time, saying it remained “confident that Bobby Kotick has properly addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.”

As the allegations mounted, the board created a workplace accountability committee to conduct its own internal investigation into the allegations. The committee was led by Activision independent director Dawn Ostroff, and another independent director, Reveta Bowers, also joined the committee. In April, five months after the investigation was announced, Lulu Cheng Meservey was added to the board and joined the committee.

The committee’s investigative work reportedly included reviewing “individual cases of harassment” as well as company policies and procedures, reviewing source documents such as employee emails and interviews, and conducting its own interviews with current and former employees.

The committee says it worked with “the assistance of outside advisers”, including law firms and “labour experts” to reach these conclusions, but named only one specific outside adviser in his report: Gilbert Casellas. Casellas is a former chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and his role in the investigation would have involved, according to Activision Blizzard, the review of data from state gender harassment investigation reports. States between 2016 and 2021.

From these, Casellas concluded that “there was no widespread harassment, pattern or practice of harassment, or systemic harassment at Activision Blizzard or any of its business units during this time period. Mr. Casellas further concluded that, based on the volume of reports, the number of misconducts reflected is relatively low for a company the size of Activision Blizzard.”

[T]The Board of Directors and its outside advisors have determined that there is no evidence to suggest that Activision Blizzard senior executives ever intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay instances of gender-based harassment that occurred and were reported. .


No further details were provided on the specific elements of Activision Blizzard’s work culture that Casellas was asked to consider as points of comparison to reach this conclusion. IGN has contacted Activision Blizzard to clarify who else was involved in this committee as well as the nature of Casellas’ contribution, and will update this article if a response is received.

Activision Blizzard’s findings on itself precede an upcoming shareholder meeting at which a number of measures will be voted on, including a shareholder proposal to prepare a report on its efforts to prevent abuse, harassment and discrimination. Activision Blizzard is actively urging its shareholders to vote against the compilation of such a report.

It also discourages shareholders from voting against a proposal to add a nominee to the board of directors who would be selected by Activision Blizzard’s non-executive employees. This latest proposal has been suggested, among other reasons, as “particularly beneficial in light of recent allegations of sexual misconduct within the company. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has reportedly known for years about assaults alleged sexual activities within the company, but did not inform the board of directors.”

Finally, the company recommends that shareholders vote for approval of its executive compensation package, which includes returning Kotick to his $875,000 annual salary after cutting it last October to $62,500 amid calls for his resignation due to the allegations against him and the company. Kotick’s actual salary is generally significantly higher due to stock and numerous other bonuses and awards, although he stepped down from several of them last year due to work culture allegations as well as repeated criticism of its compensation package. Kotick remains eligible for multi-million bonuses as of July 18 if the board determines it has made sufficient progress in improving the company’s culture.

Rebekah Valentine is a reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.


#Activision #Blizzard #Board #Finds #Evidence #Minimized #Harassment

Add Comment