activision-blizzard-finds-‘no-evidence’-of-widespread-misconduct-at-activision-blizzard

Activision Blizzard says that an investigation carried out by Activision Blizzard has discovered no proof of systemic gender-based misconduct at Activision Blizzard, or that Activision Blizzard administration “intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay” incidents of harassment at Activision Blizzard  once they occurred. 

The conclusion was shared by the corporate’s board of administrators in a June 16 submitting with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It begins by stating that “the allegations in media and legal filings about our company were as distressing to us as they were to all of you,” and obliquely acknowledges that there have been some situations of office misconduct. The submitting additionally says, nevertheless, that particular person expertise doesn’t essentially mirror the bigger image, and factors at “progressively stronger, more decisive and coordinated steps” it has taken, together with management adjustments, to deal with shortcomings and higher mirror the variety of its viewers.

And but, the corporate says that “contrary to many of the allegations,” there’s “no evidence to suggest that Activision Blizzard senior executives ever intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay the instances of gender harassment that occurred and were reported.” 

The submitting additionally states that media criticism of the corporate’s executives was discovered to be “without merit,” and that “while there are some substantiated instances of gender harassment,” there isn’t any proof that harassment, discrimination, or retaliation have been ever “a systemic issue” at Activision Blizzard.

Parallel to this investigation, Activision Blizzard mentioned it had former US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman Gilbert Casellas overview knowledge on “investigated reports of gender harassment” within the US between September 1, 2016 and December 31, 2021. Based on his overview, Casellas mentioned that there is no such thing as a widespread or systemic harassment at Activision Blizzard, and claims that the extent of misconduct skilled by workers is “comparatively low” for an organization of that measurement.

From there, the submitting lists particular person adjustments Activision Blizzard has made in recent times to enhance circumstances for workers, reminiscent of rising the dimensions of its Ethics and Compliance staff, investing in additional coaching, bettering transparency on range and pay, and implementing new drug and alcohol insurance policies for firm occasions. But then it swerves right into a frankly weird little bit of self-defense, pointing the finger at “the media” as the actual reason behind its issues.

“It must be said that the Company has been subject to an unrelenting barrage of media criticism that attempts to paint the entire Company (and many innocent employees) with the stain of a very small portion of our employee population who engaged in bad behavior and were disciplined for it,” the submitting says. 

“Much of this originated with the highly inflammatory, made-for-press allegations of the DFEH. As our outside advisors made clear, the DFEH was not assigned to investigate harassment in its agreement with the EEOC, nor did it in fact complete an investigation into issues of harassment at Activision Blizzard.”

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit towards Activision Blizzard in July 2021 following a two-year investigation that discovered a widespread “frat boy” tradition on the firm. The go well with said that “women were subject to numerous sexual comments and advances, groping and unwanted physical touching, and other forms of harassment,” and that complaints to the corporate’s human sources division and government staff “were treated in a perfunctory and dismissive manner and not kept confidential.” The DFEH subsequently tried to intervene in Activision Blizzard’s $18 million settlement with the EEOC, saying it could “irreparably harm” its personal lawsuit towards the corporate. A choose rejected the DFEH declare and permitted the EEOC settlement in March; the DFEH lawsuit is scheduled to start in February 2023

The DFEH lawsuit sparked deeper investigations into Activision Blizzard that led to extra particular allegations of misconduct, together with that CEO Bobby Kotick had instantly intervened in at the least one case to defend a high-level worker from an accusation of sexual harassment. The SOC Investment Group, an institutional shareholder, known as for Kotick’s removing in November 2021 for failing to deal with “many incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender discrimination at Activision Blizzard,” and in May 2022 varied businesses in New York City filed a lawsuit towards the corporate, claiming that Kotick entered into the acquisition take care of Microsoft partly to “escape liability” for overseeing the corporate throughout the reported incidents of abuse. 

In January, we spoke to a few ladies who previously labored at Blizzard, one in all whom mentioned it was “impossible” to not see misconduct on the studio. All three additionally mentioned that the issues have been exacerbated by an absence of belief within the firm’s HR division. Some workers have mentioned that the state of affairs at Activision Blizzard has improved in current months, however progress continues to run up towards the inertia of the previous: Jen Oneal turned the primary lady to guide Blizzard after changing J. Allen Brack in 2021, as an example, however she stepped down simply three months after taking the job. Oneal expressed optimism for Blizzard’s future, saying that she was “inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts,” however her departure reportedly inflicted a severe toll on firm morale.

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In a strongly worded response to the submitting, the ABK Workers Alliance worker advocacy group mentioned in a prolonged Twitter thread that the corporate’s assertion “continues to be as tone deaf and hand-waving as every other ‘effort’ thus far.”

“While yes, the company has been more diverse and supportive, it’s because of the passionate individuals on the ground level that care about fostering change, not the leadership,” the group tweeted. “Also, do not forget the company’s silence on issues of abortion, bodily autonomy, transgender rights and the list goes on and on. Each time something makes the news, employees call upon leadership to make a statement to affirm their own words. Silence is almost always the answer.”