Activision Blizzard To Pay SEC $35M To Settle Whistleblower Case

Activision Blizzard

We managed to go a whole month without having to talk about Activision Blizzard’s various lawsuits. Today, the embattled company finally put one of its legal issues to rest with a $35M smack on the wrist.

This settlement came after the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated complaints regarding Activision Blizzard’s alcohol-soaked culture of sexual harassment and for violating the SEC’s whistleblower protection rule.

According to a press release from the SEC, Activision Blizzard was fully aware of the issues. Still, the company “lacked controls and procedures among its separate business units to collect and analyze employee complaints of workplace misconduct.” This inaction resulted in employees’ concerns going unanswered or even documented.

In addition, from 2016 to 2021, the company also ran afoul of the government’s whistleblower rulesby requiring former employees to provide notice to the company if they received a request for information from the [SEC’s] staff.” The company failed on multiple levels during the four to five years this was going on, resulting in the agreed settlement.

The press release did not state if any $35M settlement would go towards whistleblowers or other former employees of the video game powerhouse. After reading the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Statement Regarding Offers of Settlement, it appears that the money may find its way into the hands of those harmed. However, given this is not a case of investor fraud, it’s hard to say.

One interesting thing that the SEC’s Director of the Regional Office in Denver, Jason Burt, said was that AB’s actions were “illegal.” However, no one at the company’s highest levels appears to be taking ownership or losing employment. With more lawsuits still making their way slowly through the system, maybe one of these will eventually end with some justice.

I wonder if Microsoft is reconsidering the acquisition.

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Mike Phalin

Longtime problematic entertainment journalist.

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