Activision Blizzard settled a lawsuit filed against the company by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission and has now agreed to create an $18 million fund with that money intended to go towards those affected by harassment, discrimination, and other allegations levied against the company. The lawsuit was settled on the same day it was filed as Activision Blizzard currently deals with an additional lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing as well as additional investigations into occurrences related to the alleged behavior referenced previously.
The publisher of games like the Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Diablo series put out a press release this week saying that it had "reached an agreement" with the EEOC. With this new $18 million fund now created, the money will be used to "compensate and make amends to eligible claimants," Activision Blizzard's press release said. Remaining amounts afterwards will be used to promote awareness of equality issues and other measures.
"Any amounts not used for claimants will be divided between charities that advance women in the video game industry or promote awareness around harassment and gender equality issues as well as company diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as approved by the EEOC," the press release said.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick – who was recently subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchanged Commission in a separate but related investigation – released a similar statement to ones shared in the past where he denounced any instances of the harassment and discrimination at the heart of these lawsuits and investigations. He said "We thank the EEOC for its constructive engagement" in response to the EEOC's lawsuit. Neither Kotick nor Activision Blizzard as a whole admitted any wrongdoing in the press release.
With this lawsuit now settled, Activision Blizzard will still be grappling with the SEC's investigation and the lawsuit and investigation from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing which initiated all of these proceedings. While those matters are ongoing, Activision Blizzard continues to lose high-profile developers who were working on – and in some cases, in charge of – upcoming and current games. Chacko Sonny, the former executive producer on Overwatch 2, left the company just last week. Prior to that, Activision Blizzard lost its president, J. Allen Brack, and the former director of Diablo 4 is also out. There are still changes to come in Activision Blizzard's games, too, as references to past developers are scrubbed from the titles.
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