Activision CEO reportedly knew of sexual misconduct allegations for years – CNET

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has reportedly been known for years of sexual misconduct allegations at the video game giant. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kotick had failed to provide the company’s board of directors with “everything he knew” about a number of incidents, including a 2018 settlement with a former employee at one of Activision’s studios who allegedly raped by a supervisor.

An Activision Blizzard spokesman said the report showed a misleading view of the company and its CEO, adding that “cases of sexual misconduct are emerging too [Kotick’s] Attention was attracted. ”

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Activision Blizzard – the game publisher behind popular franchises like World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Call of Duty – has has been under scrutiny since this summer when the California Department for Fair Employment and Housing sued the company for its “frat boy” workplace culture, including incidents of alleged discrimination and harassment. In September, the US-based Equal Employment Opportunity accused the company of violating the civil rights of its employees and exposing them to sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation. Activision Blizzard quickly reached an agreement with the EEOC for $ 18 million.

In the midst of the turbulence Blizzard CEO J. Allen Brack has resigned The company and more than 20 employees were fired after investigations into reports of harassment, discrimination or retaliation within the company.

In October, Activision told Blizzard it was Make changes to improve the workplace culture, including a new “zero tolerance” harassment policy and an end to the necessary arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. Kotick also said he will cut his salary to $ 62,500 to ensure that “every available resource” is used to improve the workplace. Earlier this year, shareholders reportedly approved a $ 155 million salary package for Kotick.

The long Journal report, which cites unnamed sources as well as internal emails and documents of the company, also contains allegations of harassment against Kotick and other executives at Activision-owned studios. It also highlights the impending departure of Blizzard Entertainment co-chief Jen Oneal, who is leaving the company just a few months after taking on the role along with former Xbox manager Mike Ybarra. In an email to Activision’s legal team in September, Oneal said she was sexually molested early in her career with the game maker and is paid less than her male co-boss, according to the Journal.

Following the report, an Activision Blizzard staff group said in a tweet that Kotick should be replaced as CEO and that they were planning a strike.

We have introduced our own Zero Tolerance Policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick is replaced as CEO, and we continue to adhere to our original request for third-party verification by an employee-selected source. We’re having a walkout today. We warmly welcome you to join us.

– ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021

In a statement released Tuesday, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors said it remained convinced of Kotick’s leadership.

“Under the leadership of Bobby Kotick, the company is already implementing industry-leading changes, including a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, a commitment to significantly increasing the proportion of women and non-binary people in our workforce, and significant internal and external investments,” to accelerate opportunities for more diverse talent, “the statement said.” The board remains confident that Bobby Kotick has adequately addressed the workplace issues brought to his attention. “

Kotick also shared a video message with company employees, the transcript of which was posted on Activision’s website. While not naming the Wall Street Journal directly, he said an article on Tuesday “showed an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, myself, and my leadership.” He affirmed that he is committed to an inclusive workplace.

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