The head of Activision Blizzard defended his handling of harassment complaints on Tuesday as a group of workers at the video game company called for his departure.
A walkout and a call for Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to leave the company came following a Wall Street Journal report that he had been on repeat for years in abuse reports that included an allegation of rape, but did not share everything he knew with the board.
Some 150 workers participated in a walkout at the California-based company, joined by colleagues who have stopped working remotely in solidarity, according to messages shared on an Activision Blizzard workers’ alliance account on Twitter.
“It’s high time Bobby (Kotick) stepped down,” read a tweet from @ABetterABK.
Under the leadership of Bobby Kotick, the company has been accused of ill-treatment, sexual harassment, rape and death threats made by Kotick himself. The board of directors is just as complicit if it lets that go. It is high time for Bobby to step aside. #EndAbuseInGaming #ABetterABK pic.twitter.com/4RYepNdDUc
– ABetterABK ???? ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021
ABK actually had the audacity to post this on their main site today, as if it was some sort of reassurance instead of a blatant warning. Look at that last sentence.
– Criss ???? (@Crissanthemum) November 16, 2021
The Activision Blizzard board expressed support for Kotick’s leadership in a post responding to recent media reports.
“The board remains confident that Bobby Kotick has appropriately addressed the workplace issues brought to its attention,” he said in an article posted on the company’s website.
An Activision spokesperson responding to an AFP investigation said the Journal article presented a “misleading” view of the company and its chief executive.
“The cases of sexual misconduct that have come to his attention have been dealt with,” the spokesperson told AFP.
“Under Mr. Kotick’s leadership, we have made significant improvements, including a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct.”
The California-based Call of Duty maker has been hit by employee protests, departures and a lawsuit alleging it allowed toxic working conditions and sexual harassment against women.
Kotick defended himself in a statement, saying Tuesday’s article “gives an inaccurate picture” of him.
“Anyone who doubts my belief in being the most welcoming and inclusive place to work doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me,” Kotick said in the statement.
Earlier this month, Activision said it was delaying the long-awaited sequels to its hit Diablo and Overwatch franchises as it faces upheaval due to working conditions.
“In recent months we have taken steps that have resulted in the departure of a number of people from the company,” said Daniel Alegre, chief operating officer, on a earnings conference call.
“As we worked with the new Blizzard executives and within the franchises themselves, especially in some key creative roles, it became clear that some of the Blizzard content planned for the year will be given more time. development to reach its full potential. “
The company recently announced measures to strengthen protections against harassment.
Kotick apologized and asked the board to reduce his salary to the California legal minimum of $ 62,500 (approx Rs. 46 lakh) until the panel “determines that we have met the transformational goals related to the kind”.