Activision Blizzard admits no wrongdoing as it pays $35 million over alleged sexual harassment failures

Activision Blizzard lawsuit
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Update: An Activision Blizzard representative reached out with the following statement from the company.

"We are pleased to have amicably resolved this matter. As the order recognizes, we have enhanced our disclosure processes with regard to workplace reporting and updated our separation contract language. We did so as part of our continuing commitment to operational excellence and transparency. Activision Blizzard is confident in its workplace disclosures."

Original story: The US Securities and Exchange Commission has announced (opens in new tab) that Activision Blizzard is set to pay $35 million to settle charges that it violated rules regarding how employee reports of sexual misconduct are to be handled.

As the SEC handles issues dealing with the financial market, these charges have nothing to do with sexual harassment or discrimination issues in themselves. Instead these charges address Activision Blizzard's alleged failure to adequately collect information about internal reports of sexual harassment, leaving its "ability to attract, retain, and motivate employees" at an unknown level of risk, potentially damaging both the company itself and its investors.

The SEC says that Activision Blizzard also wrongly required former employees to disclose when they were talking to the Commission - a violation of a whistleblower protection rule. SEC Denver Regional Office director Jason Burt says that "taking action to impede former employees from communicating directly with the Commission staff about a possible securities law violation is not only bad corporate governance, it is illegal."

The Commission has found that Activision Blizzard has violated both those rules, but the company is set to pay out its $35 million penalty "without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings."

If you need the broader details of the Activision Blizzard lawsuit explained, you can follow that link for an overview. The outcome of that lawsuit now has broader implications, too, as Microsoft seeks to acquire Activision Blizzard - an acquisition which is now at the center of a separate lawsuit from the FTC over concerns about industry monopolization.

Now random gamers want Sony and Nintendo CEOs to testify over Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.