Over the past few months, Activision Blizzard has seen major upheaval in response to revelations of misconduct. Following a two-year investigation, the California Department of Fair Employment sued the company over a wide range of allegations including sexual harassment and sexist discrimination in hiring and promoting processes. After a worker petition and walk-out, employees teamed up with the Communications Workers of America to file a labor complaint alleging intimidation and union-busting. In the latest development, Activision Blizzard employees have begun to walk out, and the A Better ABK Workers Alliance is calling for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign.
Bobby Kotick implicated in scathing report
Earlier today, The Wall Street Journal published yet another scathing report of misconduct by Activision Blizzard leadership. Speaking with numerous current and former employees, WSJ accused CEO Bobby Kotick of covering up harassment for years. In one case, a Sledgehammer developer reported that she was raped by her supervisor, and Kotick chose not to take any action against the accused while also keeping the information from his board of directors. Activision reached a settlement with the employee after she contacted the police and threatened to sue. In another case, HR investigated and recommended that Dan Bunting be fired as co-head of Treyarch for sexually harassing an employee. According to WSJ’s sources, Kotick personally intervened to make sure he kept his job.
WSJ’s research also uncovered an incident in 2006 in which Kotick threatened to have one of his assistants killed in a voicemail. An Activision spokesperson confirmed this event, noting that “Mr. Kotick quickly apologized 16 years ago for the obviously hyperbolic and inappropriate voice mail, and he deeply regrets the exaggeration and tone in his voice mail to this day.”
The WSJ article also contained quotes from Jennifer Oneal, who recently stepped down as Blizzard’s co-head after just a few months. Oneal stated that “it was clear that the company would never prioritize our people the right way.” She also shared some of her own troubling experiences at the company, including being sexually harassed earlier in her career and finding out she was being paid less than her male co-head at Blizzard for the same job.
Activision Blizzard workers walk out
In response to the latest wave of allegations, Activision Blizzard employees are staging a walk out and calling for Kotick’s resignation. The A Better ABK Workers Alliance encouraged employees to walk out with a tweet.
We have instituted our own Zero Tolerance Policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO, and continue to hold our original demand for Third-Party review by an employee-chosen source. We are staging a Walkout today. We welcome you to join us.
— ABetterABK ? ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021
According to The Washington Post, around 200 Activision Blizzard employees are expected to walk out today. Both Kottick himself and Activision as a company have issued statements calling The Wall Street Journal’s article “misleading” and denying that misconduct was ignored. Clearly many of their employees do not agree.