Activision internal investigation finds ‘no evidence’ it ignored harassment

activision blizzard anti discrimination commitee

Activision Blizzard here, to tell you that Activision Blizzard has done nothing wrong

An internal investigation from Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors claims the company has found “no evidence” that its executives ignored or dismissed reported cases of harassment. The investigation, conducted by the Activision Blizzard board with external advisors, concludes the Board did not intentionally ignore or attempt to downplay instances of harassment that were reported.

An SEC filing details Activision Blizzard’s assertions. The filing recognizes allegations from both the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and those in the media, but says it determined there was no evidence.

“Contrary to many of the allegations, the Board and its external advisors have determined that there is 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. That work also has not unearthed any evidence, directly or indirectly, suggesting any attempt by any senior executive or employee to conceal information from the Board. Outside advisors, after exhaustive review, also determined the Board never intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay the instances of gender harassment that occurred and were reported.”

Additionally, it claims that media criticism of the Board and Activision Blizzard senior executives as being insensitive to workplace matters is “without merit.”

“While there are some substantiated instances of gender harassment, those unfortunate circumstances do not support the conclusion that Activision senior leadership or the Board were aware of and tolerated gender harassment or that there was ever a systemic issue with harassment, discrimination or retaliation.”

The ongoing case

Activision Blizzard has been under scrutiny for some time, since the California DFEH sued the company following an investigation into its workplace culture. A Wall Street Journal report from last November indicated that CEO Bobby Kotick was aware “for years” of misconduct allegations at the company, and intervened to prevent a firing in at least one case.

It’s worth noting the language in Activision Blizzard’s filing, as it specifies instances of harassment that “occurred and were reported.” The company did settle with the EEOC for $18 million. The company has also pledged other ways in which it plans to make restitution, including new hires, waived arbitration for individual claims, and improved transparency and hiring practices. It’s also worth noting that Kotick could receive a bonus, as noted by Axios, if Activision’s board determines company culture has improved.

Meanwhile at Activision Blizzard, Raven Software QA workers successfully voted to unionize. In the wake of that, Microsoft signed a landmark neutrality deal with the Communication Workers of America, pledging the company will take a neutral approach should Activision workers consider unionizing. That agreement would take effect once the massive acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft is complete.

Eric Van Allen