May 31, 2023 - Technology

Activision Blizzard substantiated more than two dozen misconduct incidents by employees last year

Photo illustration of Activision employees protesting against misconduct.

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Activision Blizzard saw an uptick in employee reports of misconduct in late 2022, a rise the company attributes to greater scrutiny of the issues.

Driving the news: The game maker’s inaugural transparency report, released Wednesday, says the company received 114 reports of harassment, discrimination or retaliation by its employees last year.

  • Investigators substantiated 29 of them, some of which involved multiple employees.

Details: The company says it took over three dozen corrective actions as a result of those incidents, including terminating workers for discriminatory language, physical assault, misgendering, unwanted advances, retaliation and two cases of non-consensual touching.

  • "Even one instance of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation is one too many," the Activision board wrote in the report.
  • "We have robust procedures in place to resolve workplace concerns in a neutral and fair manner and to take appropriate corrective action."
  • The board called the increase in reported misconduct in 2022 a "sign of a healthy reporting culture and effective training."
  • The report also notes that Activision Blizzard had 15,545 full-time workers last year.

Catch up fast: Activision Blizzard's report follows multiple lawsuits and investigations into sexual misconduct at the company in recent years, a scandal that resulted in the ouster of some senior developers, a union drive at multiple Activision studios and an employee petition to remove the company’s CEO.

  • In late 2021, Activision agreed to set up an $18 million victims fund and three years of federal oversight, while vowing to reform its culture.
  • Through the fund, the company has paid hundreds of people fix to six figures in settlements, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Between the lines: The transparency report was released following a request from stockholders.

What they're saying: “We’ve had every possible form of investigation done. And we did not have a systemic issue with harassment — ever," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in an interview with Variety published Wednesday.

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