SEC investigating sexual harassment, discrimination allegations against game publisher

SEC investigating sexual harassment, discrimination allegations against game publisher
© Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating Activision Blizzard over the gaming company’s handling of allegations of workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination, the company said. 

The SEC has issued subpoenas to the company, as well as several current and former employees, regarding disclosures on employment matters and related issues, the company said in a statement.

Activision Blizzard said it is “confident in its prior disclosures” and is cooperating with the SEC’s investigation.


“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,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

The SEC declined to comment on a possible investigation. 

The SEC’s investigation, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes about two months after California sued the company over allegations of the company fostering a “frat boy” workplace culture that subjected women to harassment and lower pay than male peers. 

The company, known for video game franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, has denied the allegations and accused California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing of including “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past.”

Despite Blizzard’s denial, the lawsuit led to workers at the company organizing a walkout at the campus in Irvine, Calif. About a week after the protest, the company’s president J. Allen Brack stepped down

In addition to California’s suit, the Communications Workers of American (CWA) filed an unfair labor practice charge against the gaming company over allegations of worker intimidation and union busting. The CWA accused the company of using coercive tactics to attempt to prevent employees from exercising their rights to stand up and demand a more equitable and diverse workplace. 

--Updated at 1:51 p.m.