Activision Blizzard Now Being Investigated by SEC

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating Activision Blizzard and the company's methods involving how it handled allegations of harassment, workplace discrimination, and other accusations. This latest investigation looks to learn whether or not Activision Blizzard appropriately disclosed of any allegations and whether that information should've been shared with the company's investors and others earlier than it was, according to documents and sources referenced by The Wall Street Journal. This investigation follows the initial lawsuit against Activision Blizzard which was filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

In a statement shared with The Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard confirmed that the SEC was investigating the company and said the investigation pertained to "the company's disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues." It also said that the "company is cooperating with the SEC." A press release shared this week following the news of the SEC investigation included a comment from Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick who's now been subpoenaed by the SEC.

"We are deeply committed to making Activision Blizzard one of the best, most inclusive places to work anywhere," Kotick said in the press release. "There is absolutely no place anywhere in our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind. While we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace issues, we also continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work. We remain committed to addressing all workplace issues in a forthright and prompt manner."

The SEC is looking for records from Activision Blizzard board meetings as well as communications between Kotick and other senior executives regarding any complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, or related accusations from the initial lawsuit. With this investigation confirmed, the SEC is now one of several entities that's looking into Activision Blizzard.

Following the accusations against Activision Blizzard and several specific executives and other high-level employees, some people have already departed the company. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack left, and after that, Diablo 4 director Luis Barriga and more senior developers left the company, too.

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Aside from changes being made within the company, changes are similarly being made in Activision Blizzard's games. World of Warcraft, for example, will drop in-game references to former developers who worked on the game. In an even bigger change, Overwatch's McCree will be renamed since the hero takes on the name of former Overwatch developer Jesse McCree who left the company.