Content warning: this article contains explicit references to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse.
UPDATE [18/11 11:35] (Joshua Boyles): Activision Blizzard is doubling down in its unwavering support of CEO Bobby Kotick after a recent company all-hands meeting.
As reported by GameDeveloper, a internal company wide meeting occurred on November 17th. This livestreamed meeting wasn’t recorded and saw senior leadership answer pre-screened questions from employees. This was all in response to the revelations of the Wall Street Journal investigation that broke on November 16th.
Activision Blizzard claims to have a zero-tolerance policy for workplace harassment, however it has become clear that this doesn’t extend to the CEO himself. When asked if the policy would apply to Kotick, leadership allegedly replied that the company did not “have evidence” of harassment claims against him. This is despite the huge WSJ investigation that seems to indicate the company was aware of ongoing harassment for several years.
It was also learned that Activision Blizzard likely knew about the investigation from WSJ. Employees were only due to receive a few days off for Thanksgiving this year, but that holiday has been extended to a full week. It appears that this decision was made in anticipation of the WSJ report breaking on Tuesday.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, new accusations have been made against Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
Activision Blizzard has faced previous allegations from employees for sexual harassment, bullying, and various other forms of workplace misconduct. Sadly, it seems the torment isn’t ending any time soon for survivors.
The recent allegations against CEO Bobby Kotick claim he knew of the misconduct and abuse for years. According to the report, Kotick allegedly told the board of directors that he knew nothing of the reported allegations.
However, evidence claimed to have been obtained by the Wall Street Journal, states otherwise. The WSJ claims to have evidence from employees such as interviews and documents that Kotick was aware of the allegations.
An allegation in the WSJ report reported sexual assault and mistreatment at Call of Duty studios’, Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch. Treyarch co-studio head Dan Bunting has resigned from the company following an investigation that he allegedly sexually assaulted a female employee in 2017.
Treyarch employee resigns
Furthermore, according to an article from VGC, following the accusation against Bunting, Activision’s HR department recommended that he should be fired. However, it is reported that Bobby Kotick blocked the termination. It has also been reported that Bunting was given counselling when he was allowed to remain at the company.
“After considering potential actions in light of that investigation, the company elected not to terminate Mr. Bunting, but instead to impose other disciplinary measures,” said an Activision spokesperson.
Calls for Kotick’s resignation have been made
As a result of the recent allegations made against Activision Blizzard, the ABK Workers Alliance staged a walkout in support of the survivors of the allegations and demanded Bobby Kotick’s resignation.
In 2006, Kotick was also accused of mistreating female employees. It’s been reported that Kotick had left a voicemail threatening to have an assistant killed. In relation to the allegations of 2006, an Activision spokesperson said: “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 voice mail to this day.”
We can appreciate that this subject is an exceedingly difficult one to digest and we will continue to cover the story as it develops to the best of our ability.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Activision Blizzard protest organisers are urging supporters to use the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout, accompanied by a blue heart emoji. In addition, organisers have listed several charities if supporters wish to show financial support.
- Black Girls Code – https://www.blackgirlscode.com
- Futures without Violence – https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org
- Girls Who Code – https://girlswhocode.com
- RAINN – https://www.rainn.org
- Women In Animation – https://womeninanimation.org
- Women in Games International – https://www.getwigi.com
Featured Image Credit: Activision Blizzard