Activision Blizzard shareholders approve annual report on harassment



Activision Blizzard shareholders have approved a proposal made by the New York State Comptroller that would require the company to issue an annual report on how the company is preventing sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The vote is non-binding.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued the proposal in February. Said report would include the total number of pending sexual abuse, discrimination, and harassment complaints the company is working to resolve, how much money Activision Blizzard has spent resolving said claims, and the number of misconduct complaints facing the company.

Activision Blizzard’s board was not in favor of the proposal. Shareholders ignored their disapproval and overwhelmingly voted to approve the proposal in today’s meeting. A similar set of circumstances occurred at a Microsoft shareholder’s meeting last year, when shareholders went against the board’s wishes to mandate a similar report from the parent company of Xbox (which is currently acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion).

At today’s board meeting, shareholders also voted on ten members of Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors. CEO Bobby Kotick and longtime board members Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado were successfully re-elected as part of that vote.

Shareholders did not approve the nomination of an employee representative to the board of directors, which was proposed by organizing employees at Activision Blizzard and the AFL-CIO.

This vote follows almost a year of public turmoil at the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft publisher that began with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filing a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, accusing it of perpetrating a culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination.

A later report by The Wall Street Journal would directly implicate Bobby Kotick in the alleged behavior

In the interim, employees have walked out in protest of the company’s handling of this alleged behavior, and quality assurance employees at subsidiary Raven Software successfully unionized in response to low pay and sudden layoffs.

Last week, Activision Blizzard released the results of an internal investigation denying that there was ever “a systemic issue with harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.” 

Interestingly, that internal investigation covered roughly the same time period of alleged sexual harassment cases that were accounted for in an $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Activision Blizzard. Both the investigation and the settlement only covered events dating back to September 1, 2016. Some allegations of sexual harassment and abuse at the company go back even further.

Update: This story has been updated to indicate that the proposal approved by shareholders is non-binding.

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