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Activision boss Bobby Kotick subpoenaed as multiple agencies seek truth on harassment allegations

UPDATE: Activision Blizzard responds.

UPDATE 11.50am UK: Activision has issued a new statement saying it is cooperating with the agencies listed below and complying with the SEC's subpoena.

"The Company is actively engaged in continued discussions with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and has cooperated with the EEOC's investigation concerning certain employment practices," Activision wrote in a press release.

"It also confirmed that it is complying with a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoena issued to the Company and several current and former employees and executives regarding disclosures on employment matters and related issues. The Company is confident in its prior disclosures and is cooperating with the SEC's investigation."

"We are deeply committed to making Activision Blizzard one of the best, most inclusive places to work anywhere," company boss Bobby Kotick added. "There is absolutely no place anywhere in our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind. While we continue to work in good faith with regulators to address and resolve past workplace issues, we also continue to move ahead with our own initiatives to ensure that we are the very best place to work. We remain committed to addressing all workplace issues in a forthright and prompt manner."


ORIGINAL STORY 11.00am UK: Activision Blizzard is under increasing pressure over its response to this year's claims of employee misconduct and harassment, with both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) now involved.

Company boss Bobby Kotick and other senior executives have been subpoenaed to provide their internal communications regarding the company's response to the high-profile allegations, Wall St Journal [paywall] reported (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz).

The SEC is investigating whether World of Warcraft and Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard should have told its shareholders sooner about California's ongoing lawsuit. The EEOC, meanwhile, has been investigating the claims of harassment itself with the aim of a payout for victims - potentially in the millions.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

In other Activision Blizzard news, Blizzard's chief legal officer Claire Hart has announced her departure via LinkedIn.

"After more than three years at Blizzard Entertainment, I have decided to move on to my next adventure. Friday was my last day," Hart wrote.

"The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns, but I feel honored to have worked with and met so many great people at Blizzard and across the Activision Blizzard businesses."

Earlier this month, Activision Blizzard employees filed a new lawsuit accusing the company of using "coercive tactics" to prevent organisational efforts to improve working conditions.

All this continues amid the original legal action by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing which alleged sexual harassment, discrimination, and a "frat boy" work culture at Blizzard.

The fallout of that lawsuit has seen numerous departures, including that of Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, but clearly today's latest developments will see further pressure put at the very top of Activision Blizzard.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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