Activision Blizzard’s board of directors says it stands by CEO Bobby Kotick after a Wall Street Journal report alleged that he hid assault and harassment at the company from the board. Meanwhile, employees have reportedly walked out.
The Journal report from today is yet another in a long line of bad press for the company, dating back to last year’s lawsuit filed by California’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment, which was settled out of court for $18 million. That suit sparked a walkout at Activision Blizzard, workers at which demanded better transparency and to have abusive managers ousted.
Today, employees walked out again, and they are specifically asking that Kotick be replaced as CEO of the company.
In a press release, the Activision Blizzard board of directors says it’s standing behind Kotick as CEO, despite Journal reporting showing that he hid important information about allegations related to abuse and harassment from it.
“Under Bobby Kotick’s leadership the Company is already implementing industry leading changes including a zero tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent. The Board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention,” they said. “The goals we have set for ourselves are both critical and ambitious. The Board remains confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment and ability to achieve these goals.”
In a statement, Activision Blizzard also said it would stand behind Kotick.
“We are disappointed in the Wall Street Journal’s report, which presents a misleading view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO. Instances of sexual misconduct that were brought to his attention were acted upon,” the statement reads. “The constant desire to be better has always set this company apart. Which is why, at Mr. Kotick’s direction, we have made significant improvements, including a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct.”
While last year’s lawsuit was settled, Activision Blizzard employees told Waypoint that this wasn’t enough to enact the change they need at the company.
“$18M is nothing. Bobby will fire $18M worth of people he doesn't like to balance the books and call it a wash,” one employee told Waypoint in September.