SOC Investment Group has written an open letter to Activision Blizzard shareholders, urging voters not to re-elect six board members, including CEO, Bobby Kotick.
As spotted by GI.biz, the letter comes ahead of Activision Blizzard’s annual meeting on 21st June and campaigns to remove Bobby Kotick, Brian Kelly, Robert Morgado, Robert Corti, Barry Meyer, and Peter Nolan from their positions.
“Each of these directors failed either to recognise that Activision Blizzard for years maintained unsafe workplaces exhibiting frequent and repeated sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender discrimination, or to appropriately address the Company’s ‘frat house’ culture once it was publicly revealed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in its pending lawsuit, which was filed in July 2021,” the damning letter states.
20th July 2021 was when the DFEH filed its lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for “widespread sexual harassment and discriminatory practices” at the company.
“While shareholders await the assessment of the merger with Microsoft by anti-trust regulators, it is incumbent upon them to hold these current directors accountable for their multiple failures to act and the resulting reputational harm and declining share price.”
The SOC Investment Group “works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with the Strategic Organising Centre, a coalition of four unions representing more than four million members, to enhance long term shareholder value through active ownership”. It purports to have “over $250 billion in assets under management” and are “substantial Activision shareholders”.
“After July 20, 2021, Activision Blizzard shareholders looked to the Board of Directors to take ownership of the situation at the company, demonstrate a command of the facts and a determination to improve, evaluate how the Board had allowed working conditions at the company to deteriorate so thoroughly, and establish a process to ensure that in the future, the Board has the information needed to recognise and promptly address workplace harassment, predation, and discrimination,” it added.
“Instead, for many months, shareholders were met with silence. It was not until mid-November 2021 that any statement from the Board was made available, and this statement was at best superficial, failed to clarify open issues such as when prior to July 20 the Board became aware of the issues at the company, and introduced a new Board committee focused on workplace culture that has yet to take any publicly visible actions.
“This degree of passivity would be disappointing for any board of directors, but given the gravity of the situation at Activision, it has been inexcusable.”
The Worker Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination has been founded by 12 current and former staff members, including high-profile ABetterABK member Jessica Gonzalez, and has presented a list of demands to embattled boss Bobby Kotick.
Issues raised include improvements to private breastfeeding areas, an end to undocumented meetings with HR, improved support for transgender employees, two weeks extra paid time off for parental leave (up to 12 weeks), and the need for independent investigations into allegations of discrimination.