The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has subpoenaed Los Angeles-area police departments for records tied to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and 18 other current and former Activision employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The DFEH has also subpoenaed Activision's directors in its investigation of the reported culture of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and pay misconduct at the company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also sent an additional subpoena to Activision, building on the investigation it began in 2021 into the company's handling of sexual harassment allegations. The new filing requests "records and communications from a much longer list of current and former executives," than previous information requests, and dates back to 2016 rather than just the past year.
These subpoenas are reportedly the result of increasing pressure to investigate Activision Blizzard in anticipation of its possible acquisition by Microsoft. The FTC aims to lead the approval process for that deal, eyeing it for possible anti-trust violations. The Wall Street Journal reports that if the government investigations aren't resolved before the Microsoft deal closes, Microsoft will have to take them on.
An Activision representative told the Wall Street Journal these new subpoenas were an "extraordinary fishing expedition."
"The DFEH is requesting sensitive, confidential information with no limits or relevant scope from Southern California police departments," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Kotaku. "This serves no legitimate purpose. It represents yet another questionable tactic in DFEH's broader effort to derail AB's settlement with the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission]. Rather than protecting California workers, the DFEH is impeding the meaningful progress at Activision Blizzard and delaying compensation to affected employees."