The head of Activision Blizzard on Tuesday defended its handling of harassment complaints as a group of workers at the video game company called for their departure.
There was a walkout and a call for Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to leave the company in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that he has been covered in abuse reports over the years that have included allegations of rape, but didn’t share everything that happened. He knew with the board of directors.
Some 150 workers took part in a walkout at a California company after colleagues stopped working remotely in solidarity, according to a post shared to an Activision Blizzard Workers Alliance account on Twitter.
“It’s time for Bobby (Kotik) to step down,” read a tweet from the @ABetterABK account.
The company, led by Bobby Kotick, has been accused of abuse, sexual assault, rape and of Kotick himself making death threats. If they leave this slide the board is just as complicated. It’s time for Bobby to quit. #EndAbuseInGaming #ABetterABK pic.twitter.com/4RYepNdDUc
– AbetterABK???? ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021
ABK actually had the audacity to publish it on their main site today, as if it was some sort of assurance rather than blatant gaslighting. Look at that last sentence.
– Chris ????? (@chrysanthemum) November 16, 2021
The Activision Blizzard board voiced support for Kotick’s leadership in a message in response to recent stories in the media.
“The Board is confident that Bobby Kotick has appropriately addressed the workplace issues brought to his attention,” said a post on the company’s website.
Responding to the AFP investigation, an Activision spokesperson said the Journal’s story presented a “misleading” view of the company and its chief executive.
“Instances of sexual misconduct that were brought to their attention were acted upon,” the spokesman told AFP.
“At the direction of Mr. Kotick, we have made significant improvements, including a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct.”
The California-based makers of Call of Duty have been affected by employee protests, departures and a state lawsuit alleging it enables toxic workplace conditions and sexual harassment against women.
Kotick defended himself in a release, saying Tuesday’s article “gives a false image” of him.
“Anyone who doubts my belief in being the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me,” Kotick said in the release.
Earlier this month Activision said it was delaying the eagerly-awaited sequel to its hit Diablo and Overwatch franchise as it deals with the turmoil caused by workplace conditions.
“In recent months, we have taken actions that have resulted in the departure of many individuals at the company,” Chief Operating Officer Daniel Alegre said on an earnings call.
“As we work with the new leadership at Blizzard, and within the franchise, particularly in some important creative roles, it has become clear that some of the Blizzard content planned for the year needs to reach its full potential. would benefit from more development time.”
The company recently announced measures aimed at strengthening anti-harassment protections.
Kotick has apologized and asked the board to reduce his salary to at least $62,500 (about Rs 46 lakh) until the panel “determines that we have achieved transformative gender-related goals. “