Government officials lobbying Activision Blizzard now threaten company profits

State Treasurers in California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, Delaware and Nevada Call on Activision Blizzard to Take More Serious Action to Address Ongoing Investigations and Lawsuits Regarding the Disturbing Culture of the company. According to Axes, said treasurers had asked to meet with Activision Blizzard board members by December 20, threatening to take action against the company if it does not comply.

A quick recap: Activision Blizzard has been accused of fostering a work culture of “frat boy” where women from several studios have been sexually harassed, assaulted, and psychologically traumatized. A more recent the Wall Street newspaper The investigation also found that the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct over the years, often downplaying them or actively participating in the misconduct. With the state of California already involved in these Activision Blizzard proceedings and a number of entities calling for Kotick’s resignation, more and more government figures are joining the chorus.

State treasurers, for those unaware, are responsible for overseeing financial matters that concern both its state and citizens. State treasurers like Illinois, for example, act as auditors of public accounts. But why would a state treasurer care what a video game company does? Well, some states have active investments in Activision Blizzard that are affected by the company’s stock price, which in turn affects the pension funds people use in retirement. But having investments in Activision Blizzard also means these government shareholders have some power to dictate what the company will do next. And for now, treasurers are not happy with Activision Blizzard’s leadership.

“We are concerned that the current CEO and directors do not have the skills, nor the conviction to make these radical changes necessary to transform their culture, to restore trust with employees, shareholders and their partners,” said Michael Frerichs, Treasurer of the State of Illinois. Recount Axes.

While Kotick reportedly proposed that he would consider stepping down as CEO if he can’t fix the corporate culture, and Activision Blizzard has formed a workplace accountability committee “to improve the workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination within the company. “Frerichs told Axios that” radical changes must be made to the company. “

“One thing the treasurers are bringing is also a little bit of attention here and a little bit of public pressure as well,” Frerichs said. Axios, who also indicated that he was troubled by the news of the wage inequality in the company. “So it’s not just about how many dollars and how many stocks we have. ”

Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg shared similar concerns with Frerichs and was baffled that the Activision Blizzard board members supported Kotick following resignation requests. Goldberg said Axes that the Activision Blizzard case calls “a real investigation” by “an outside investigator.” Even an $ 18 million settlement proposal for victims of harassment at Activision Blizzard doesn’t seem to do much to convince people the company is committed to making deeper changes to the overall corporate culture. .

Read more: Meet the Board Members Who Support Bobby Kotick, CEO of Besieged Activision Blizzard

“You can say, ‘Hey, we paid the victims, we’re fixing them. “Said Frerichs,” But if you pursue a culture that creates new victims in the future, you create more risk for your business, “he said.

Pressure has grown on Activision Blizzard to address its labor policy both outside and within the gaming industry. Xbox director Phil Spencer, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan and chairman of Nintendo Doug Bowser sent an email to their staff criticizing the corporate culture of Activision Blizzard. The National Legal and Policy Center also called on Coca-Cola chief executive officer James Quincey to “immediately call for the resignation” of Kotick, who is currently a member of its board of directors.

While the emails to Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation staff lambasting Activision Blizzard are all fine, ultimately these aren’t public positions blaming Activision for its toxic work culture. It’s an open secret that Activision Blizzard has had toxic leadership far beyond anything currently in dispute, so it’s high time those in power took a stand as well. While it is new for treasurers to rely on a game company, there is a precedent. In the past, treasurers have used funding like a carrot on a stick to influence operational changes in companies – such as give up Massachusetts pension to fight climate change, according to Axes.

Public pressure that affects Activision Blizzard’s bottom line while threatening structural change tells the truth to power better than email can. Welcome to the resistance, State Treasurers.

Read more: Everything that has happened since the Activision Blizzard lawsuit was filed

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