The fallout from the Activision Blizzard lawsuit continues as T-Mobile drops their sponsorship from Overwatch League and Call of Duty League.
The lawsuit was filed on July 22. A week after the lawsuit filing, the Call of Duty League had hosted the Stage 5 Major through August 1. The main sponsor of that league was T-Mobile. However, they apparently dropped out during the league event, according to reporting from Dexerto.
As they report, the T-Mobile logo was covered up with tape on players’ uniforms. Additionally, the T-Mobile branding was pretty much expunged from the various broadcasts on the Call of Duty League site. The same removal can be said of the Overwatch League.
On top of this sponsorship loss, it looks like Activision Blizzard is now facing a second lawsuit from the first lawsuit. In reporting from Kotaku, this suit is seeking any damages from Activision Blizzard securities trading from August 4, 2016 through July 27, 2021 based on, “defendants’ violations of federal securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading statements during the class action period.”
Additionally, this second suit names Bobby Kotick (Activision Blizzard CEO), CFO Dennis Durkin, former CFO Spencer Neumann, three executives, and the corporate entity Activision Blizzard all as defendants.
This suit claims the executives at Activision Blizzard were fully cognizant of Activision Blizzard’s sexual harassment and discrimination during SOX certification periods. SOX, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, is intended to protect the public from any fraud by publicly traded companies. SOX certification occurs annually, and must be signed off by executives.
With that context, the SOX certification from 2016 which was signed by Kotick and Durkin reads,
“We are party to routine claims, suits, investigations, audits, and other proceedings arising from the ordinary course of business, including with respect to intellectual property rights, contractual claims, labor and employment matters, regulatory matters, tax matters, unclaimed property matters, compliance matters, and collection matters. In the opinion of management, after consultation with legal counsel, such routine claims and lawsuits are not significant and we do not expect them to have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or liquidity.”
That last sentence, in place since 2016, is of prime importance as, judging by the current sexual discrimination lawsuit, “such routine claims and lawsuits” absolutely have had an impact on Activision Blizzard’s business of late.
This is just the latest development in the story of Activision Blizzard’s (now) lawsuit(s) of late. Earlier yesterday, J. Allen Brack stepped down as Blizzard’s President. Additionally, Activision Blizzard employees formed the ABK alliance in response to the allegations. Finally, the investor’s call yesterday reported lower still monthly active users from Blizzard.