as if things weren’t already bad
Activision already faces state and federal lawsuits over widespread reports of employee mistreatment. However, a new report from The Wall Street Journal could make things even worse for the publisher.
According to the report, CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of reports of abuse and harassment as far back as 2018. More recently, a group of 30 female employees reportedly sent an email to Activision’s esports department heads in 2020. The email alleged instances of mistreatment and sexual harassment.
Kotick was reportedly aware of the email. An Activision spokesperson said the company addressed concerns by implementing diversity and inclusion training for esports team managers.
However, Kotick reportedly did not share any information with the publisher’s board of directors. Compounding matters, Kotick himself was accused of mistreatment and harassment.
One allegation in 2006 saw Kotick harassing one of his assistants and threatening her life in a voicemail. Another allegation in 2007 saw Kotick telling a private jet flight attendant, “I’m going to destroy you.”
An Activision spokesperson said Kotick immediately apologized for the 2006 incident. Also, Kotick denied saying the aforementioned words to the flight attendant.
In the wake of the Wall Street Journal report, Activision Blizzard employees have called for Kotick’s resignation as CEO. Earlier today, over 100 employees gathered outside of the Irvine, California headquarters and protested.
It doesn’t seem like the board of directors is buckling under the pressure, however. Here’s the board’s statement on the matter:
The Activision Blizzard Board remains committed to the goal of making Activision Blizzard the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry.
Under Bobby Kotick’s leadership, the Company is already implementing industry leading changes, including a zero tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce, and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent.
The Board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.
The goals we have set for ourselves are both critical and ambitious. The Board remains confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment, and ability to achieve these goals.
An Activision spokesperson said the report “presents a misleading view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO.” They also said issues of sexual misconduct Kotick knew about “were acted upon.”