Labor Organizers Urge SEC to Investigate Activision Over 'Misleading' Filing

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Labor Organizers Urge SEC to Investigate Activision Over 'Misleading' Filing
Image from Shutterstock

The labor union leading the push to unionize workers at Activision Blizzard has called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the Santa Monica video game publisher for making “inaccurate and misleading disclosures” to investors.


In a letter to SEC chair Gary Gensler on Thursday, the Communication Workers of America alleged that Activision made misleading claims in a Jan. 19 public filing relating to the company’s $69 billion acquisition by Microsoft. The union pointed to Activision’s statements in the filing that it was not aware of any unionization efforts or work stoppages by its employees, nor any “unfair labor practice complaint” against the company.

The CWA noted that with its help, Activision employees have pursued organizing efforts since last summer, with workers at Activision subsidiary Raven Software now seeking to form the first certified labor union at a major North American video game publisher. Raven Software employees also commenced a weeks-long work stoppage in December protesting layoffs at the firm, while the CWA filed a ULP complaint against Activision in September.

The labor union lobbied that by omitting these details, Activision’s disclosures painted an inaccurate portrait of the company to the wider public.

“As a result of these omissions, readers of Activision’s merger filing may be misled into believing that the company’s well-documented workplace disputes, including widespread allegations of abusive behavior including sexual harassment and sexual assault, and multiples strikes and work stoppages—all of which have received extensive, national coverage in multiple media outlets—have been comprehensively resolved,” the CWA wrote in its letter. “In fact, these disputes are ongoing, and both Activision management and its board were well aware that these disputes were unresolved.”

Beyond accusing Activision of misleading investors, the CWA also argued that Activision may have deliberately omitted these details in its merger filing to curtail a potential downturn in its stock price. Investors reacted swiftly when news broke in July 2021 that California state authorities were investigating Activison’s workplace culture, while the stock also took a hit two months later when the SEC began looking into the company for the same reason.

“The significant negative effect that the revelation of these disputes has had on Activision’s share price since they first became the subject of widespread public attention… suggests that beyond merely failing to take care to ensure that it made accurate representations to readers of the merger agreement, Activision may have acted with an improper motive to conceal the true status of its workplace disputes,” the CWA wrote.

Raven Software workers sent their union petition to the National Labor Relations Board this week after Activision declined to voluntarily recognize their Game Workers Alliance union. That paves the way for an NLRB-sponsored vote by the union’s members to force recognition, which would give them the right to collectively bargain employment conditions with their parent company. Raven employees ended their strike and returned to work just this week; the work stoppage was the third at Activision in only a five-month period.

An SEC spokesperson declined to comment on the CWA’s letter. Representatives for Activision did not immediately return a request for comment.

https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending