Activision Blizzard says review found no evidence senior execs ignored or downplayed gender harassment

Activision Blizzard Inc. said Thursday a review by its board and external advisers found no evidence that senior executives ever intentionally ignored or attempted to downplay instances of gender harassment that took place and were reported, and said media criticism of the company’s senior management as insensitive to workplace matters is “without merit.” In a regulatory filing, the company said the review also found no attempt by any senior executive or employee to conceal information form the board. “Activision Blizzard senior executives responded in a timely manner and with integrity and resolve to improve the workplace,” said the filing. “While there are some substantiated instances of gender harassment, those unfortunate circumstances do not support the conclusion that Activision senior leadership or the Board were aware of and tolerated gender harassment or that there was ever a systemic issue with harassment, discrimination or retaliation.” The company also engaged a former chair of the EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to bolster its review. Gilbert Casellas, who was chair of the agency from 1994 to 1998, was engaged to review data from collected and investigated reports of gender harassment across the U.S. between Sept. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, of 2021. “Based on his review, Mr. Casellas concluded that there was no widespread harassment, pattern or practice of harassment, or systemic harassment at Activision Blizzard or at any of its business units during that timeframe,” said the filing. “Mr. Casellas further concluded that, based on the volume of reports, the amount of misconduct reflected is comparatively low for a company the size of Activision Blizzard.” Shares were down 1% premarket, but have gained 13% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has fallen 20%.

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