Amid all the news on Overwatch 2 and Diablo Immortal, Activision Blizzard has filed a document with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which it affirms that, after an internal investigation, it concluded its own board did not fail to act when presented with allegations of harassment.
“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,” Activision Blizzard wrote in the filing.
The report does acknowledge there were problems within the company and that such a conclusion does little to address the concerns of those harmed. “Indeed, a single instance of someone feeling diminished at Activision Blizzard is one too many,” it wrote. However, in a report from one of the consultants Activision Blizzard engaged to review harassment filings and the company’s responses, the document said, “based on the volume of reports, the amount of misconduct reflected is comparatively low for a company the size of Activision Blizzard.” It’s kind of strange to say in one breath “one is too many” and then cite a consultant saying it could have been worse.
The filing continues with the programs the company has implemented to make restitution. It cites the addition of a new diversity and inclusion executive, a program designed to train and attract employees from underrepresented areas, and its $18 million compensation fund established by its settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. (For reference Activision Blizzard reported Call of Duty alone made the company $3 billion in 2020.)
But, in another example of “you could just not say that,” the company took a swipe at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) — which tried to block the EEOC settlement since it might release the company from the state’s own case against it — and the media.
“It must be said that the company has been subject to an unrelenting barrage of media criticism that attempts to paint the entire company (and many innocent employees) with the stain of a very small portion of our employee population who engaged in bad behavior and were disciplined for it,” the company wrote. “Much of this originated with the highly inflammatory, made-for-press allegations of the DFEH.”
I guess when there’s a new allegation cropping up almost daily with stories of stolen breast milk, alcohol-fueled “cube crawls,” the now-infamous “Cosby suite,” the fact that the CEO likely knew about all of it, the board’s patent refusal to disavow said CEO despite employee objections, three employee walkouts, a strike and — let’s not forget — the persistent instances of union busting for which there are at least two National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaints, it can get pretty unrelenting. It’s also worth noting that while the DFEH filing did make the public aware about the “cube crawls” and the “Cosby suite,” a lot of the other allegations brought forward were from independent reporting and Activision Blizzard’s own current and former employees.