Turns Out, State Treasurers Can Do Something About Activision Blizzard
So it turns out that the government can do something against Activision Blizzard and its state of leadership. Specifically, the State Treasurers of California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, Delaware, and Nevada want a meeting with its board members by December 20th, saying they will take action if the company does not comply. This is an interesting turn of events, especially as the State of California has already been involved with Blizzard during its lawsuit against them for their toxic workplace.
For those who are unaware, the Activision Blizzard situation has to do with the sexual misconduct and harassment that has gone on throughout the company for years. The kicker is that CEO, Bobby Kotick, is accused of not only fostering the environment, which he had previously confessed to being unaware of but had taken part of the sexual misconduct. This has led other big gaming companies to condemn Kotick’s actions, but while reconsidering ties with Activision Blizzard and working on their own transparency, have not taken action.
But it seems that a few State Treasurers have decided to do something about this.
For those who are unaware, State Treasurers are the overseers of financial matters of both the state and its citizens and are auditors of the public accounts. The reason that these states, and not others, are taking action is, well, these particular states have active investments in Activision Blizzard. And with its stock prices dropping, that means that it’s taking money away from things like pension. And that also means that the government shareholders have a say in what happens next in the company.
“We’re concerned that the current CEO and board directors don’t have the skillset, nor the conviction to institute these sweeping changes needed to transform their culture, to restore trust with employees and shareholders and their partners,” said Michael Frerichs, the Illinois state treasurer to Axios.
And thankfully, while it sounds like money is the main motivation, that is not the case. Frerichs admits to being concerned about how Blizzard is handling the lawsuit against them for sexual misconduct, and how nothing seems to be happening to change the current environment. “You can point to, ‘Hey, we paid the victims, we’re making them whole’,” Frerichs said, “But if you’re continuing a culture that creates new victims in the future, you are creating more risk for your company,” he said.
Frerichs also wants to use this as an opportunity to bring this situation to the spotlight and use the public pressure to force change on this video gaming giant. Massachusetts state treasurer Deborah Goldberg shared similar concerns and wants an investigation of the situation by a third party. Goldberg admits to even being “baffled” by how the Board members stood by Kotick after the calls of resignation came from Blizzard employees.
So are we, Goldberg. But perhaps with the help of the 6 state treasurers, and dragging this toxic workplace into the greater public light, there can be a change in Activision Blizzard. Or better yet, Bobby Kotick’s resignation.