Activision Blizzard finds itself once more under the spotlight following a new report. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, company CEO Bobby Kotick not only knew of the many sexual misconduct allegations, he worked to keep them hidden. Indeed, Kotick was apparently involved in protecting harassers. Following the report, Activision Employees have organized a second walkout, calling for Kotick’s resignation.
The WSJ published the findings of its investigations in an article today. According to the outlet, Kotick himself had been accused by female employees of mistreatment. Kotick was allegedly harassing an assistant, and in 2006 threatened to kill her in a voicemail. Following the report’s publication, an Activision spokesperson said that Kotick had apologized years ago for the “hyperbolic and inappropriate” message, saying he regretted the “exaggeration” and “tone.” Kotick has also been accused of protecting high-ranking employees accused of assault and misconduct. The WSJ discovered that a former supervisor at Sledgehammer Games, Javier Panameno, was accused of harassing one female employee, and raping another. Panameno was fired a year later, but Kotick apparently kept things hidden from the company’s Board of Directors.
The report included more than the aforementioned, and in response, the ABK Workers Alliance has organized a walkout today. Citing the recent “Zero Tolerance Policy” proposed by Kotick late last month, the alliance writes it “will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO.” According to Kotaku, a source claimed that around 100 current and former employees are expected to take part in the walkout.
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
Activision Blizzard employees demand Kotick resignation
The report has sparked Activision Blizzard employees to demand Kotick to resign, but it also included a part on Jen Oneal. Back in August, Oneal became the co-leader of Blizzard after J. Allen Brack departed the company. Several months later, she announced her own resignation. The WSJ wrote that Oneal told the company’s legal team that she felt “tokenized, marginalized, and discriminated.” She was also said she being paid less than her male co-leader, Mike Ybarra.
Activision Blizzard has since gone up to bat for Kotick. In a message, a spokesperson wrote that the report “presents a misleading view” on both Kotick and Activision Blizzard. As spotted by our sister site, Upcomer, Kotick defended himself in a video message sent to employees. In it, he said: “Anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me.”
The company is in the midst of a harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.