Call of Duty Studio Vaguely Promises To Do Better A Month After Sexual Harassment Report

Call of Duty Studio Vaguely Promises To Do Better A Month After Sexual Harassment Report
Man with gun representing shooty game dev. (Screenshot: Activision)

Call of Duty studio Treyarch just issued the latest in a long series of murky apologies from Activision-owned studios regarding the ongoing investigation into company-wide sexism, harassment, discrimination, and bullying. In a tweet issued today, a little over a month after the Wall Street Journal reported on studio co-head Dan Bunting’s departure following sexual harassment claims, Treyarch says there’s no room in its culture for sexism, harassment, racism, bigotry, discrimination, or bullying.

Treyarch’s tweeted statement reads as follows.

Our goal as a studio is to make awesome games for the world to enjoy. Having the privilege to pursue that endeavour is made possible because of Treyarch’s people: We are a studio comprised of smart, talented, world-class creative professionals who seek to perform at our best. Our culture has no room for sexism, harassment, racism, bigotry, discrimination, or bullying. As we move forward, providing a safe, diverse, inclusive working environment so that all may thrive will be our highest priority. Everyone at Treyarch is drawn to game development because we possess a deep love for the artistry of video games and the magic that can create moments that matter. This is a moment that matters and it starts by being better.

The studio’s statement comes as the fallout from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit and investigation into the toxic culture at Activision Blizzard continues to collect around the base of CEO Bobby Kotick’s annoyingly resilient throne.

Today’s message is the first official statement from Treyarch since the departure of long-time studio co-lead Dan Bunting. According to the damning Wall Street Journal report from mid-November, Bunting was involved in a 2017 incident in which he allegedly harassed a female coworker after a night of drinking. An internal investigation of the incident in 2019 concluded that Bunting should be fired, only for CEO Bobby Kotick to intervene, having Bunting undergo counseling instead. Bunting, who’d been co-lead of Treyarch since 2003, left the studio last month as the Wall Street Journal report was making the rounds.

As apologies go, Treyarch’s is pretty standard. Without citing specific instances, the studio renounces bad things and vaguely promises to do not-bad things. Unfortunately, it comes several days too late to make it into our Year in Gaming Apologies article, but there are plenty of Activision Blizzard entries in there already. Hopefully, Treyarch will indeed start “being better” so it doesn’t need to issue another one of these anytime soon.

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