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New lawsuit alleges Activision CEO rushed through Microsoft acquisition to escape liability for wrongdoing

A new lawsuit filed by New York City Employees’ Retirement System has alleged Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick fast-tracked a takeover bid from Microsoft in order to escape liability for wrongdoing following a damning Wall Street Journal report claiming he’d known about sexual misconduct at the Call of Duty publisher “for years”.

Activision Blizzard has faced a relentless stream of shocking allegations relating to its workplace culture since last July, when a State of California lawsuit filing called the publisher “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women”. Building on that lawsuit, the Wall Street Journal published a report in November claiming Bobby Kotick had been aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct and mistreatment of female employees across many parts of the company “for years”, but had failed to act on them or tell the board of directors and executives everything he knew.

It’s these claims relating to Kotick’s behaviour that form the backbone of a new lawsuit filed by the New York City Employees’ Retirement System and pension funds, which owns Activision shares. The filing (as spotted by Axios) aims to secure documentation Activision has reportedly so far refused to release so that the plaintiff can carry out an investigation into the board’s “failure to maintain a safe and non- discriminatory working environment for its (specifically minority and female) employees, and failure to take action in response to repeated, grave allegations of misconduct, discrimination, and harassment by Activision’s senior executives.”

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