Approximately 150 Activision Blizzard employees assembled outside the Blizzard offices in Irvine, California yesterday in protest of the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, following allegations of misconduct made in a recent Wall Street Journal report.
The employees gathered to protest the executive’s continued role at the company following claims that the CEO was directly informed of various misconduct allegations and harassment complaints, including a sexual assault incident in 2016 at Sledgehammer Games that was settled out-of-court, yet Kotick did not inform the Activision Blizzard board of directors at the time.
The report also references an incident in 2006 where Kotick reportedly threatened to have an assistant killed over voicemail.
Activision released a defensive statement in response to the WSJ report which references a recently drafted ‘zero-tolerance policy’, apparently instigated by Kotick:
The ABK Workers Alliance, who are calling for Kotick’s resignation, tweeted in response to Activision’s own statement:
The report alleges examples of Kotick failing to disclose internal investigations to the board of directors, and also suggests that the controversial email sent by Fran Townsend to employees following the misconduct and discrimination lawsuit filed in July this year — one that Kotick subsequently described as “tone deaf” — was, in fact, drafted by Kotick himself.
This latest development in the ongoing Activision Blizzard situation comes after Jen Oneal recently resigned as co-leader of Blizzard following the departure of J. Allen Brack in August. Oneal and Mike Ybarra had been appointed co-leaders, although the former Vicarious Visions boss stepped down after only three months. The WSJ report suggests that her departure came as the result of being paid less than Ybarra despite their joint position, and from being “tokenised, marginalised, and discriminated against” at the company.
The Activision Blizzard board released a statement conveying their support and confidence in Kotick which has drawn further criticism, including from PlayStation boss Jim Ryan.