Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Meta Platforms, used her influence to bury two stories about her then-boyfriend, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, according to a bombshell report from The Wall Street Journal†
The WSJ reports that Sandberg contacted . in 2016 and again in 2019 MailOnlinethe UK’s online printout Daily mail tabloid, trying to prevent the outlet from reporting on a restraining order filed by his ex-girlfriend against Kotick. In both cases, the story failed. Now Facebook is investigating the issue to see if Sandberg may have violated company policies.
According to sources in the WSJ report, Kotick said that Sandberg’s… Mail in 2016, stating that any article published about the restraining order could damage the publication’s relationship with Facebook. Kotick denied this and told the log“I never said anything like that.”
In 2019, when the Mail was looking for a story about the incident again, Sandberg emailed the chairman of the Mailparent company, who referred her to the publication’s then editor-in-chief, Martin Clarke, according to the… WSJ story. The two exchanged emails and again, the story didn’t pan out. It is important to note that, according to the logsources at the Mail those in contact with Sandberg said they did not feel threatened.
Sandberg has a reputation for championing women’s rights in the workplace, and wrote the 2013 book Lean in and founding the nonprofit LeanIn.org. However, Bobby Kotick’s reputation has suffered a lot from accusations that he would cover up or ignore the workplace bullying that has been at the center of multiple lawsuits against his company, Activision Blizzard. In court documents related to the restraining order, the WSJ reports that Kotick reportedly showed up at his then-girlfriend’s house uninvited in March 2014 and tried to get in after telling him their relationship was over due to his “bullying and controlling nature.”
In a statement to the Log, a spokeswoman for Meta said: “Sheryl Sandberg has never threatened MailOnline’s business relationship with Facebook to influence an editorial decision.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.