Sheryl Sandberg, one of Meta’s executives, has reportedly pressured a UK tabloid to drop reporting on Bobby Kotick. This happened when she and the Activision Blizzard CEO were in a relationship.
Sandberg contacted the Daily Mail in 2016 and again in 2019 to prevent the newspaper from publishing two stories about Bobby Kotick, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.
- These articles would have revealed that the Activision Blizzard boss had a temporary restraining order against him obtained by his ex-girlfriend in 2014.
- Sandberg started dating Kotick in 2016 and broke up with him in 2019. Her legal and public-relations advisers were worried that such publications, in case they would have been released during their relationship, would affect her reputation as an advocate for women.
- In 2016, Kotick allegedly said that his then-girlfriend threatened the MailOnline, claiming that these reports could damage the outlet’s relationship with Facebook. The Activision CEO, however, denied this.
- In 2019, Sandberg exchanged emails with the MailOnline’s then editor-in-chief Martin Clarke. According to sources familiar with the matter, those who “interacted with Ms. Sandberg at the publication didn’t feel threatened.”
- In both cases, the MailOnline didn’t publish the articles. However, a Meta spokeswoman told the WSJ that Sandberg never threatened the newspaper’s “business relationship with Facebook in order to influence an editorial decision.”
Besides her role at Meta, Sheryl Sandberg is known as a vocal advocate for women’s rights. In 2013, she founded LeanIn.Org, a non-profit organization dedicated to “offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals.”
Facebook is now investigating Sandberg’s alleged actions to see whether she violated the company’s rules.