Things continue to get worse for the embattled Activision Blizzard, as the Security Exchanges Commissions (SEC) is now reportedly investigating the company over its workplace practices and disclosure policies according to a new report from Kirsten Grind and Sarah E. Needleman of the Wall Street Journal. The SEC joins numerous other governmental bodies, labor boards, and groups of workers and investors in targeting the company with legal action over its long history of gender discrimination and workplace abuse.
According to the WSJ, CEO Bobby Kotick, along with other executives, has reportedly been subpoenaed by the SEC in connection to this new investigation. According to the documents examined by Needleman and Grind, the commission is seeking documents from Activision Board meetings, various personnel files, and agreements that were reached with former staff. The WSJ also reported that they are seeking any information they can find regarding Kotick's specific communications with other executives regarding the sexual harassment and discrimination complaints filed by employees.
The SEC joins the State of California, Activision Blizzard's own investors, and Activision Blizzard's own employees, all of whom have filed various legal complaints against the company over their gender discrimination practices and their disclosure practices in recent months.
The initial action from California, that alleged a toxic, sexist work environment, prompted numerous staff changes at the company. The company also hired Wilmer Hale, a well-known union buster, to conduct an internal investigation. That action prompted backlash and accusations from employees of union-busting and worker intimidation against Activision Blizzard King in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint filed on behalf of ABK workers from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) last week.
Activision Blizzard investors also filed a class action complaint against the company over its failure to disclose the situation surrounding the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing investigation to investors. They allege in their complaint that the companies withholding of accurate information regarding that investigation materially damaged investors from the past several years.
Based on Monday's report, the SEC's investigation seems to be focused on the claims most similar to ones made by Activision Blizzard's investors in that class-action lawsuit, focusing on disclosures about the investigations and high-level communications regarding discrimination complaints and how they were handled.
We will continue to update this story as we learn more information.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.