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California updates Activision Blizzard harassment lawsuit, claiming company is ‘shredding’ documents

California state government files updated lawsuit with more claims against Activision Blizzard as investigation continues.

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The California State Government’s DFEH has updated its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard to now include temp-workers’ experience, and also state that the company’s HR is not properly keeping records for their investigation.

First reported by Axios, in an updated filing, the DFEH claims that Activision Blizzard’s HR team is not saving records related to the investigation, which is impeding their ability to move forward.

The initial lawsuit, which was filed on July 21, claimed numerous cases of harassment, inequality, and more took place at Blizzard’s side of Activision Blizzard.

The DFEH states that the company has a policy of “shredding” documents of employees who’ve left the company within 30 days.

The California government requires employers to keep records for up to 2 years. It says, “documents related to investigations and complaints were shredded by human resource personnel.”

Further, the government claims that Activision Blizzard has required employees to sign NDAs, speak internally before contacting the DFEH which is impeding their investigation.

The updated lawsuit also claims that Activision Blizzard adding in a review of the company via WilmerHale law group has further caused issues.

The updated lawsuit claim that these actions “directly interfere” with their ability to “investigate, prosecute, and remedy workplace discrimination and harassment violations on behalf of employees and contingent or temporary workers.”

The new filing also added in mentions that experiences of harassment and inequality “exist for employees and contingent or temporary workers.” The initial lawsuit only covered full time employees.

Following this lawsuit’s update being surfaced, Activision Blizzard responded with a lengthy statement, one that differs in tone from their original attack on the DFEH.

The company claims that they have “complied with every proper request in support” of the DFEH’s review.

Their full statement is below:

“Throughout our engagement with the DFEH, we have complied with every proper request in support of its review even as we had been implementing reforms to ensure our workplaces are welcoming and safe for every employee. Those changes continue today, and include:

  • Several high-level personnel changes;
  • Revamped hiring and recruiting practices requiring diverse interview panels;
  • Greater transparency on pay equity;
  • Expanded and improved training and investigative capabilities for human resource and compliance staff;
  • Created investigation teams outside of business units to support greater independence;
  • Restructured divisions to support greater accountability;
  • Enhanced review processes to include evaluation of managers by employees;
  • Clear boundaries on workplace behavior with a zero-tolerance approach to harassment and other actions that diminish or marginalize.

We strive to be a company that recognizes and celebrates the diverse talents and perspectives that lead to the creation of great, globally appealing entertainment.  

We have provided the DFEH with clear evidence that we do not have gender pay or promotion disparities. Our senior leadership is increasingly diverse, with a growing number of women in key leadership roles across the company.

We share DFEH’s goal of a safe, inclusive workplace that rewards employees equitably and are committed to setting an example that others can follow.”

As more information arises on the lawsuit situation, we’ll keep everyone updated.

Activision

Leaker claims Activision is considering changing Call of Duty’s annual release schedule

A leaker has suggested that Activision’s annual CoD release may be coming to an end with extended cycles being considered.

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A new Call of Duty title is released every year, with multiple studios taking it in turns to bring out a new game. A new leak however has made the bold claim that Activision may be thinking about changing its release schedule and model.

It’s become a given that a new CoD game will be released in November of each year, with the likes of Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Infinity Ward all taking it in turns to develop a new game.

2019 saw the release of IW’s Modern Warfare reboot, 2020 was Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War, and this year has seen the release of Sledgehammer Games’ Vanguard.

It’s already rumored that Modern Warfare 2 is in the works for 2022, but depending on Activision’s approach, they may opt to change their release policy, starting with MW2.

Leaks seem to happen left, right, and center these days, with people able to learn a great deal of information about projects and plans, many of which turn out to be true.

The new Call of Duty rumor comes from leaker Ralph, who recently claimed that the reported Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer remaster has been canceled, and thinks that annual releases are being reconsidered.

A recent Tweet from them quite simply said: “Activision are reportedly in discussion for extending Call of Duty’s annual releases.”

As with any leak, this should be taken with a major pinch of salt. RalphsValve has recently come under scrutiny from fellow leakers regarding the accuracy of his claims.

With the rumored 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 title still potentially a year out, maybe two now, things can always change, and we’d recommend taking these claims with a pinch of salt.

Furthermore, given how much this could change the Call of Duty landscape going forward, we’d also strongly recommend waiting for official confirmation from Activision before assuming this is the direction CoD will be going in the future.


For more Call of Duty news, take a look at when Vanguard and Warzone Season 1 starts.

Image Credit: Activision / Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games

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Activision Blizzard shareholders group call on CEO to resign

Shareholders are now calling for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to resign and be replaced as turmoil continues.

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A group of Activision Blizzard shareholders have sent a letter to Activision Blizzard executives asking for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign immediately.

The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, was sent by a group of shareholders that own stock share in Activision Blizzard.

“In contrast to past company statements, CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of many incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination at Activision Blizzard, but failed either to ensure that the executives and managers responsible were terminated or to recognize and address the systematic nature of the company’s hostile workplace culture,” the shareholders, led by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group stated in their letter.

The news comes as the Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb-shell report on Activision Blizzard on November 17, detailing how CEO Bobby Kotick knew about the company’s harassment issues and failed to properly address the situation accordingly over the years.

The WSJ also reported that Bobby Kotick allegedly called a former female assistance and threatened her.

The letter from the group is also asking for Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado, two of the longest-serving board members on the Activision Blizzard board of directors to retire by December 31, 2021, and allow new board members to further shape the future of the company.

“After the new revelations, it’s clear that the current leadership repeatedly failed to uphold a safe workplace — a basic function of their job,” SOC executive director Dieter Waizenegger said to The Washington Post. “Activision Blizzard needs a new CEO, board chair, and lead independent director with the expertise, skill set and conviction to truly change the company’s culture. We need to really have a reset button on the board.”

Activision Blizzard has declined to comment on the shareholder letter at this point.

The company issued a statement on November 16 stating that the WSJ report was “misleading” and “failed” to report on the changes CEO Kotick has made since the initial lawsuit dropped in July.

In addition, the company’s board of directors issued their own statement on November 16 stating they remain “confident” in Bobby Kotick as CEO. Activision Blizzard’s stock has taken a drop since the news surfaced.

Activision Blizzard employee group, A Better ABK, issued their own demand calling for Bobby Kotick to be replaced and staged a walkout on November 16.

We’ll continue to update as this situation unfolds.

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Treyarch co-studio head left company as details on harassment allegations surface

New report details allegations at Sledgehammer Games and what Activision Blizzard CEO knew about it.

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Treyarch’s co-studio head Dan Bunting has left Treyarch recently, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

In an extensive report from the WSJ, the site states that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew about multiple sexual harassment incidents and failed to properly notify the board of directors or address such situations.

As part of their report, WSJ states that Dan Bunting, Treyarch’s co-studio lead, was accused of sexual harassment in 2017 incident by a co-worker.

An internal investigation stated Bunting should be fired for the situation, but Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stepped in and kept him against the investigation’s results.

Bunting remained Co-Studio Head of Treyarch since then, even leading both Black Ops 4 and Black Ops Cold War development cycles at the studio.

Dan Bunting, co-head of Activision’s Treyarch studio, was accused by a female employee of sexually harassing her in 2017 after a night of drinking, according to people familiar with the incident. Activision’s human-resources department and other supervisors launched an internal investigation in 2019 and recommended that he be fired, but Mr. Kotick intervened to keep him, these people said.

Now, the WSJ reports that following their recent inquiry, Dan Bunting has left Treyarch and Activision.

It’s not clear who is currently leading Treyarch’s team. Mark Gordon was a co-studio head alongside Bunting, but no information confirmed on the new leadership team.

“After considering potential actions in light of that investigation, the company elected not to terminate Mr. Bunting, but instead to impose other disciplinary measures,” said an Activision Spokeswomen about the 2017 incident to WSJ.

The news comes as Activision Blizzard is under fire for multiple sexual harassment claims, pay discrimination, and more across the company.

WSJ also states that there were multiple incidents at Sledgehammer Games back in 2016 and 2017 where Kotick allegedly failed to notify the board of directors about allegations.

Their reporting states that a client claimed she had been raped in 2016 and 2017 by her male supervisor after drinking too much alcohol in office and work events. She reported her incident to HR, but nothing happened, per an email her lawyer sent directly to Activision Blizzard CEO.

The WSJ also reports that CEO Bobby Kotick knew about multiple different incidents at the company and failed to properly notify the board of directors about the investigations and inquiries. He reportedly even called a former female assistance and threatened her.

The Wall Street Journal’s full report is well worth a read.

Activision Blizzard has attempted to make multiple different changes to the company’s work culture to better align with requirements from the employees.

The company has listed out multiple changes, including zero tolerance policy, changes to different leadership positions, and more.

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