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US regulators target Activision Blizzard workplace

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Employees of the video game company Activision Blizzard hold a walkout on July 28, 2021 to protest against sexism and harassment in their workplace./AFP
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Sep 21, 2021 - 12:01 PM

SAN FRANCISCO — Activision Blizzard on Monday said US securities regulators are digging into whether the video game giant properly disclosed concerns about a toxic, sexist workplace.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking information from the company, executives and former employees.

The SEC “is conducting an investigation concerning the company’s disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues,” and has issued subpoenas to some current and former employees, an Activision spokesperson said in response to an AFP inquiry.

Regulators are seeking information to determine whether executives informed them and investors about complaints of workplace harassment and gender-pay inequity, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the inquiry.

Activision is cooperating with the inquiry, according to the spokesperson. The SEC declined to comment.

California-based Activision unveiled a management shakeup in early August,  following employee protests and a California state lawsuit alleging the company enabled toxic workplace conditions and discriminated against women.

The shakeup came a week after workers walked out to protest sexism and harassment, as a call went out online to boycott hit titles such as “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush.”

The company has launched what it promised would be a far-reaching review of its workplace practices after the state lawsuit alleged wide-ranging discrimination and harassment of women employees.

The employee protests came amid growing complaints about treatment of women in the industry in recent years.

In addition to workplace conditions, Activision has pledged to review its depiction of women in its popular games.

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