Activision is now the subject of an investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the alleged toxic environment in its offices, as per a report from the Wall Street Journal.
In late July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) formalised its investigation into the stories of sexual harassment the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher with an official lawsuit. The case covers instances of sexual and racial discrimination like "cube crawls" where drunk male employees would "crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behaviour toward female employees."
Moreover, women of colour were "micromanaged" for their body language and were asked to justify their time off work whereas others were not required to submit explanations for their holidays. Activision has described the claims in the lawsuit to be "distorted" and "disgraceful," criticising the DFEH for its "irresponsible behaviour" throughout the investigation.
Now, the SEC has requested the personnel files of six previous employees and the records of CEO Bobby Kotick's communications with executives on the claims of sexual harassment and discrimination that employees have suffered. Last month, the DFEH accused Activision of destroying documents that would have been vital to the case, to which the publisher responded that it has "complied with every proper request in support of its review."
Helaine Klasky, a spokesperson for the company, explained that Activision is "cooperating" with the SEC regarding the subpoena against the publisher and a handful of its higher ups. However, at the end of July, it brought in a law firm that has a history of union-busting to assist in the amelioration of its policies surrounding harassment and similar complaints.
"WilmerHale has extensive experience helping organizations strengthen their workplace environment by making improvements around policies and procedures related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation issues," said a spokesperson for Activision at the time.
A number of managers and executives have stepped away from their roles at Activision, including president J. Allen Brack, senior vice president of global HR Jesse Meschuk, Diablo 4 designer Jesse McCree, and chief compliance officer Frances Townsend who is no longer in the women's network. Furthermore, Overwatch character Jesse McCree will be renamed to remove his association with his namesake.
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