Activision Blizzard, CEO Bobby Kotick subpoenaed by SEC over toxic workplace allegations

Blizzard Entertainment Hq
Blizzard Entertainment Hq (Image credit: Carli Velocci / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Activision Blizzard is currently facing a lawsuit alleging sexist workplace behavior and abuse.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has subpoenaed Activision Blizzard.
  • The SEC has also reportedly subpoenaed leadership such as Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has subpoenaed Activision Blizzard and several executive leaders, including CEO Bobby Kotick, according to The Wall Street Journal. Activision Blizzard is reportedly being asked to hand over documents such as records of messages between Activision Blizzard leadership like Bobby Kotick, as relates to the company's response to accusations of sexual misconduct. Activision Blizzard currently faces a lawsuit alleging systemic sexist workplace behavior across the company, cases of abuse and more.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard confirmed that "The company is cooperating with the SEC." Activision Blizzard reiterated during its Q2 2021 earnings call that any members of leadership found to have "impeded the integrity of our processes" would be terminated from the company. Multiple high-level developers have been let go, including the game director on upcoming action role-playing game Diablo 4.

Other actions taken so far including Blizzard renaming Overwatch hero McCree, as his namesake was also let go from the company. Blizzard president J. Allen Brack also stepped down, with the company led by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra moving forward.

Activision Blizzard is charged with violating labor laws, including surveillance of employees. A statement received by Windows Central from the ABK workers' collective accuses Activision Blizzard of not listening to employee demands, instead resorting to threats and coercion.

The Department of Fair Housing and Employement also accuses Activision Blizzard of not cooperating with its investigation, though Activision Blizzard states that it has complied with every "proper request."

Activision Blizzard oversees several game development studios and multiple large gaming brands, including World of Warcraft, Candy Crush and the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, the latest entry of which, Call of Duty: Vanguard, is coming later in 2021.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.