Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Comments On Harassment Allegations

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Comments On Harassment Allegations
Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has issued a public statement addressed to all employees concerning the harassment lawsuit against his company.

The full statement is as follows:

This has been a difficult and upsetting week.

I want to recognise and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.

It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions, and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my highest priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.

We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels for reporting or to reach out to Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at [email protected] or 202-247-2725. Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to long-lasting change. Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions.

  1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.

  2. Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.

  3. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.

  4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.

  5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.

Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Bobby

Last week, news broke that the state of California is suing Activision Blizzard for allowing an environment of harassment to fester in its ranks, largely targeting the massive company’s female staffers.

“Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment,” the lawsuit reads, “including having to continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped at the ‘cube crawls’ and other company events. High-ranking executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.”

Kotick’s statement follows an announcement made earlier today by Blizzard promising to remove “inappropriate” content from World of Warcraft. While details were scarce, many assume this to mean in-game references to creative director Alex Afrasiabi, one of the men accused of harassment in the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard employees are speaking out against what they regard as their employers’ inadequate and even offensive reaction to the lawsuit’s serious allegations. Over 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a letter condemning their company’s response to the allegations, while some are planning to take part in a walkout tomorrow, July 28.

 

Comments

  • A bit on the nose for him to only post that statement on the investor site after the stock price tanked, rather than some other less-financially-motivated platform. Robs the whole thing of any sincerity it might’ve tried to claim.

    Also, pretty fucking whiffy that that Stephanie Avakian is tapped as the contact for reporting. A finance lawyer who, after a profitable career defending white collar criminals, got landed in the SEC in an act of regulatory capture under Trump, where she helped the enforcement agency reduce its actual enforcement actions significantly.

    If you wanna hire someone to cover shit up and restore your stock price without taking too many senior executive scalps, that seems like the ticket.

    The whole thing fucking reeks, and Blizzdevs are probably going to be better off striking.

    • Yuppers. That’s def the $200milion response from out mate Bobby! He’s throw the wamens a $100m bone (maybe), cull the rest behind closed doors, and stock prices, and his bonus, will be back up again by next year, with all this nasty business long forgotten.

      As far as the Mrs & I go Bobby, being long-time fans and customers, since the days of W1, D1, but mostly D2/D3…NO MORE SOUP FOR YOU!!! Not another cent until you and your dinosaur comrades in crime are all gone for good from Blizz. Here endeth the lesson. 🙂

        • That’s how bloated rich ftards amass their fortunes – by counting every single penny. But you already knew that, didn’t you…? ;-p

  • What the hell does “we did not provide the right empathy and understanding” even mean? The entire problem is that they had no empathy whatsoever for the employees, it was never a matter of the “right” empathy. They only had to care in the most basic sense of the word and they fucked that up so badly it triggered strike action. Fuck off, Kotick.

    • It means he wants HR’s legal team to say “We are sorry, we understand this is a troubling time”… just before they force them to sign an NDA and waive all their rights to sue for a hush money cheque, before being fired.

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