Activision Blizzard Staff Walk Out After Allegations Against CEO

More bad news coming from Activision Blizzard this week as the company's staff walked out after the release of a Wall Street Journal report investigating the company and its CEO Bobby Kotick. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kotick knew about sexual abuse allegations but kept the board of directors in the dark.  The report also alleges Kotick threatened a female assistant among other claims. Originally the company faced a lawsuit from the state of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing for having a poor office culture with allegations of sexual misconduct. They eventually settled and set up a fund, among other guidelines as part of that settlement. Originally, Kotick denied he was aware of the claims, however, the Journal has obtained new documentation showing that he was, in fact, fully aware, and personally settled multiple harassment cases out of court.

Blizzard Entertainment sign at the entrance to the video game developer and publisher headquarters - Irvine, California, USA - 2020, photo by Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com.
Blizzard Entertainment sign at the entrance to the video game developer and publisher headquarters – Irvine, California, USA – 2020, photo by Michael Vi / Shutterstock.com.

After the article was published this morning, Kotick posted his own response on Blizzard's company website. While he did address the media attention, his message followed the same company tone they have adopted since the start and downplayed it as an inaccurate depiction of what's been happening at the company. Here's a quick snippet of that blog.

Over the last few months, so many of you have generously and candidly shared your experiences and your insights about the type of company you want us to be. We've taken meaningful actions to improve our company and our culture. But there is more to do.  To become the model workplace we all aspire to be, more change is required. But I am so confident we will get there.

There will, of course, be continued media attention about us and our industry over the next few months. In fact, there's an article today that paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of me personally, and my leadership.

Activision Blizzard Inc. logo displayed on smartphone by Piotr Swat
Activision Blizzard Inc. logo displayed on smartphone by Piotr Swat

The company's board of directors sent out a memo to investors saying they are supporting Kotick. According to a report from Vice, that prompted the entire staff of Activision Blizzard to walk out of the company again today as they issued the statement below on Twitter demanding that he be replaced. We'll keep an eye on the situation to see what develops throughout the week, but it would not surprise us if the ABK decided to start doing weekly or daily walkouts until Kotick is removed.

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About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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