- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct allegations that some readers may find upsetting.
The Activision Blizzard fallout continues, as over 1,700 employees have signed a petition calling for the removal of CEO Bobby Kotick.
Earlier this year, the gaming giant was hit with a lawsuit from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing, claiming that "harassment and discrimination" against women was rife within the company.
More recently, a Wall Street Journal article contains multiple sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations against various high-ranking Activision Blizzard employees, including Treyarch co-head Dan Bunting. Kotick himself was also alleged to have harassed and threatened a female assistant with death back in 2006.
In response to the former, an Activision spokesperson confirmed that Bunting has now left his role at Treyarch, but he has not commented publicly on the allegations. Digital Spy have reached out for further comment.
Meanwhile, an Activision spokesperson also responded to the harassment allegations against Kotick, saying: "Mr. Kotick quickly apologized 16 years ago for the obviously hyperbolic and inappropriate voice mail, and he deeply regrets the exaggeration and tone in his voicemail to this day."
Activision have further defended Kotick from allegations in an open statement, writing: "We are disappointed in the Wall Street Journal's report, which presents a misleading view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO. Instances of sexual misconduct that were brought to his attention were acted upon.
"The WSJ ignores important changes underway to make this the industry's most welcoming and inclusive workplace and it fails to account for the efforts of thousands of employees who work hard every day to live up to their – and our – values. The constant desire to be better has always set this company apart. Which is why, at Mr Kotick's direction, we have made significant improvements, including a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct.
"And it is why we are moving forward with unwavering focus, speed, and resources to continue increasing diversity across our company and industry and to ensure that every employee comes to work feeling valued, safe, respected, and inspired. We will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team."
At the time of writing, 1,745 employees have openly signed the petition, which reads: "We, the undersigned, no longer have confidence in the leadership of Bobby Kotick as the CEO of Activision Blizzard.
"The information that has come to light about his behaviors and practices in the running of our companies runs counter to the culture and integrity we require of our leadership – and directly conflicts with the initiatives started by our peers.
"We ask that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders."
An alliance of workers under the banner 'A Better ABK' have been posting about the situation, and have been staging walkouts. One of their employees estimates that the petition has been signed by about 15% of the company's total workforce, including full-time workers and contractors.
We have instituted our own Zero Tolerance Policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO, and continue to hold our original demand for Third-Party review by an employee-chosen source. We are staging a Walkout today. We welcome you to join us.
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021
In response to the latest developments, Kotick penned a message to all employees saying that "any reprehensible conduct is simply unacceptable".
"Over the last few months, so many of you have generously and candidly shared your experiences and your insights about the type of company you want us to be," he said. "We've taken meaningful actions to improve our company and our culture. But there is more to do. To become the model workplace we all aspire to be, more change is required. But I am so confident we will get there.
"We are moving forward with a new zero tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior – and zero means zero. Any reprehensible conduct is simply unacceptable.
"Over the last few years our industry has had an uncomfortable spotlight that's been illuminating opportunities for us to change. And we must all, including me, embrace this need for change, so we can bring our very best selves to the very best place to work."
Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that both PlayStation boss Jim Ryan and Xbox boss Phil Spencer have expressed concern about the situation at Activision, with the former telling employees in an internal memo: "We do not believe (Activision's) statements of response properly address the situation."
You Might Also Like