Social media is aflame with demands that video game industry exec Bobby Kotick resign from his position as CEO of Activision Blizzard in the wake of reporting from The Wall Street Journal about his own terrible treatment of women. Leading the charge are Activision Blizzard employees themselves, who are planning another walkout today in response to the report’s revelations.
“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,” ABK Workers Alliance, an advocacy group made up of current Activision Blizzard employees, announced on Twitter. “We are staging a walkout today. We welcome you to join us.”
The hashtag #firebobbykotick is also picking up steam after first being established earlier this year in response to Activision Blizzard’s other sexual abuse-related legal woes. Many believe this should be the final straw for shareholders, some of whom already think Kotick makes too much money as it is.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Kotick not only ignored and downplayed longstanding harassment against female employees within Activision Blizzard but was also an active participant in the “frat boy” culture that led the state of California to file a lawsuit against the company earlier this year.
Kotick is said to have harassed an assistant in 2006, sending her a menacing voicemail message in which he threatened to kill her. The matter was settled out of court, and an Activision Blizzard rep told The Wall Street Journal that Kotick “quickly apologised 16 years ago for the obviously hyperbolic and inappropriate voice mail” and “deeply regrets the exaggeration and tone in his voice mail to this day.”
In 2007, Kotick was accused of firing a flight attendant on his private jet after she told him the pilot of said jet sexually harassed her. Kotick reportedly told the flight attendant and her lawyers, “I’m going to destroy you,” an allegation Kotick denied through a spokesperson. He eventually settled out of court in 2008, this time to the tune of $US200,000 (A$275,311).
Kotick has, more recently, taken a pay cut in response to the state of California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard and news of the company’s toxic atmosphere toward women.
“I truly wish not a single employee had had an experience at work that resulted in hurt, humiliation, or worse – and to those who were affected, I sincerely apologise,” Kotick wrote in a public statement at the time. “You have my commitment that we will do everything possible to honour our values and create the workplace every member of this team deserves.”