Activision Blizzard CEO admits ‘tone deaf’ response to allegations, ahead of employee walkout

2 months ago 22
PR Distribution

Facing an worker revolt up of the videogame company’s quarterly net report, Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive Bobby Kotick went into damage-control mode Tuesday.

Responding to allegations of rampant intersexual harassment and bias astatine the company, Kotick said successful a missive to employees Tuesday nighttime that it’s been “a hard and upsetting week” and promised to instrumentality “swift action” to make a much inclusive workplace.

Employees are readying a walkout Wednesday to protestation however the institution has handled the harassment claims by the authorities of California, which sued the institution past week.

The suit claims Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard — which publishes specified fashionable videogames arsenic “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” — pays and promotes pistillate employees little than their antheral peers, and that pistillate employees are taxable to “constant intersexual harassment,” including unwanted intersexual comments, advances and groping. A fig of disturbing incidents were described successful the filing, which described Activision Blizzard arsenic fostering a “frat boy” enactment environment.

In a connection past week, Activision Blizzard dismissed the claims, calling them “distorted and successful galore cases false” and blamed authorities regulators for driving businesses retired of California. More than 2,600 employees signed a petition objecting to the company’s response, and walkout organizers person demanded changes, including an extremity to forced arbitration, caller hiring and promotion processes, transparency of wage data, and an audit by a diversity, equity and inclusion task force.

“Countless radical earlier america person tried to enact alteration and lone got PTSD arsenic thanks. Thank you brave souls for paving the mode for us,” Activision Blizzard shaper Tracy Kennedy tweeted Tuesday. “This clip we volition support each different and we volition not backmost down until we spot meaningful, systemic changes. The maltreatment ends here.”

In his missive Tuesday, Kotick admitted the company’s archetypal effect was “tone deaf” and announced a fig of contiguous changes, including further worker support, listening sessions, termination of anyone recovered to person violated workplace standards and a reappraisal of hiring practices. He besides announced an probe into the company’s policies and procedures by an extracurricular instrumentality firm.

Kotick besides said immoderate “in-game” contented volition beryllium removed. That seemingly applies to references to originative manager Alex Afrasiabi, who was named successful the lawsuit, that look wrong the “World of Warcraft” game, according to Kotaku.

Kotick became CEO of Activision successful 1991, and aft its merger with Blizzard has led the combined institution since 2008. His missive did not code wherefore specified actions to supply an inclusive workplace had not been taken previously.

Last month, Activision Blizzard shareholders narrowly approved a arguable enforcement compensation plan, after Kotick’s wage bundle reached $150 cardinal successful 2020, adjacent arsenic the institution laid disconnected employees.

Activision Blizzard shares ATVI, -6.76% slid astir 7% connected Tuesday arsenic connection of the worker walkout spread. The institution is scheduled to study second-quarter net Aug. 3. Its banal is down much than 9% twelvemonth to date, compared with a 17% summation by the S&P 500 SPX, -0.47% successful 2021.

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