Report — Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Buried Knowledge Of Misconduct

A new report from the Wall Street Jour­nal has shed some light on Activi­sion Bliz­zard boss Bob­by Kotick, putting him in a tru­ly bad posi­tion. WSJ alleges that Kotick had knowl­edge of the sex­u­al assault and harass­ment claims at his stu­dios. Addi­tion­al­ly, the report said Kotick did not noti­fy the com­pa­ny’s board of direc­tors after it reached an out-of-court set­tle­ment with an employ­ee who accused a for­mer super­vi­sor of rape.

Doc­u­ments includ­ing mem­os and emails shown to the Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed­ly indi­cat­ed Kotick knew of oth­er accu­sa­tions made. They also sug­gest that employ­ees forced out for alle­ga­tions were still pub­licly praised, while cowork­ers were asked to not speak out about it.

The report goes on to allege that Kotick threat­ened to kill an assis­tant over voice­mail in 2006, which an Activi­sion spokesper­son stat­ed was just a joke. Kotick was actu­al­ly respon­si­ble for draft­ing a state­ment on the ongo­ing harass­ment, not Activi­sion Bliz­zard and for­mer Bush admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial Frances Townsend. Kotick then lat­er called the state­ment “tone-deaf.”

Jen Oneal, who briefly served as co-lead at Bliz­zard, report­ed­ly sent an email to Activi­sion’s legal team were she informed them she was sex­u­al­ly harassed ear­li­er in her career with the com­pa­ny. She also said a par­ty Kotick him­self attend­ed in 2007 fea­tured “scant­i­ly clad women [danc­ing] on strip­per poles” and that females employ­ees were encour­aged to drink more. Oneal was named co-lead after Bliz­zard pres­i­dent J. Allen Brack left the com­pa­ny when the alle­ga­tions broke. Oneal recent­ly announced her own depar­ture, say­ing it was the best deci­sion for her family.

An Activi­sion Bliz­zard spokesper­son pro­vid­ed a state­ment to GameSpot about the report:

We are dis­ap­point­ed in the Wall Street Journal’s report, which presents an inac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing view of Activi­sion Bliz­zard and our CEO. Instances of sex­u­al mis­con­duct that were brought to his atten­tion were act­ed upon. The WSJ ignores impor­tant changes under­way to make this the industry’s most wel­com­ing and inclu­sive work­place and it fails to account for the efforts of thou­sands of employ­ees who work hard every day to live up to their–and our–values.

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. And it is why we are mov­ing for­ward with unwa­ver­ing focus, speed, and resources to con­tin­ue increas­ing diver­si­ty across our com­pa­ny and indus­try and to ensure that every employ­ee comes to work feel­ing val­ued, safe, respect­ed, and inspired. We will not stop until we have the best work­place for our team.”

Kotick him­self also released an inter­nal video–tran­scribed on Activi­sion Bliz­zard’s cor­po­rate site–say­ing the report has an “inac­cu­rate and mis­lead­ing view” of the com­pa­ny and him­self. The ABet­ter­ABK employ­ee group announced it would be stag­ing a walk­out until Kotick has been removed as CEO. The com­pa­ny’s board of direc­tors released its own state­ment, say­ing Kotick “appro­pri­ate­ly addressed” the prob­lems. Kotick is actu­al­ly a mem­ber of the board of directors.

I am a Platinum lover and an ex- Cod-aholic. I've been playing games since I was 5 years old and I refuse to quit, despite my mother's attempts to get me to. God of War and its successors are my all time favorite games.

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