Sign on facade of office of videogame publisher Activision in the Silicon Beach area of Los Angeles, California
Source: PC Gamer

Activision Blizzard finds ‘no evidence’ of widespread misconduct at the company
The board of directors conducted an investigation, acknowledging 'some substantiated instances of gender harassment,' but issues are not systemic

Activision logo seen at its headquarters
Activision Blizzard finds ‘no evidence’ of widespread misconduct at the company.
Source: Video Game Chronicles

Gaming giant Activision Blizzard said this week that after conducting an investigation, they found no proof of systemic gender-based misconduct at the company. Additionally, it also found no evidence of Activision Blizzard management purposely ignoring or attempting ‘to downplay’ instances of harassment at the company at the time it happened.

On Thursday, June 16, Activision’s board of directors shared the conclusions in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing begins by stating that the ‘allegations in media and legal filings’ about Activision were as ‘distressing’ to them as anyone else. Additionally, it obliquely acknowledges the incidents of workplace misconduct taking place in the company. However, it states, that isolated incidents ‘does not necessarily’ represent the larger picture, pointing at how they had taken ‘progressively stronger, more decisive and coordinated steps’ such as leadership changes.

Moreover, it stated criticisms of the executives by the media turned out to be ‘without merit.’ It added how though ‘there are some substantiated instances of gender harassment,’ there is no proof that discrimination, harassment, or retaliation were ever a ‘systemic’ problem at the company.

And yet, the company says that “contrary to many of the allegations,” 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.”
According to Gilbert Casellas, former chairman of US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there was no ‘widespread or systemic harassment’ at the gaming company, with instances being ‘comparatively low.’ The filing continues by listing individual changes Activision made to improve working conditions. These include increasing the size of the Ethics and Compliance Team, more investment in training, improvements on diversity and pay transparency, along with implementation of new drug and alcohol policies at company events. Subsequently, the filing unnecessarily shifts to self-defence, blaming ‘the media’ for causing issues.
In July 2021, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the gaming giant after a two-year investigation discovering widespread ‘frat boy culture’ at Activision. According to the suit, females employees were victim to various ‘sexual comments and advances, groping and unwanted physical touching,’ and several other ways of assault. Moreover, it noted how complaints to the human resources departments, and executive’s team were handled in a ‘dismissive manner and not kept confidential.’
Soon afterwards, the DFEH tried to intervene in the $18 million settlement between the company and the EEOC. However, a judge rejected its claim, approving the EEOC settlement in March. Moreover, this lawsuit went on to give rise to deeper investigations into the gaming giant, leading to additional specific accusations of misconduct. These includes chief executive Bobby Kotick having directly intervened in at least one of these cases to protect a high-level employee from a sexual harassment allegation.