Activision Blizzard Hires New VP In Lieu Of Harassment Allegations

| May 6, 2022

Activision Blizzard has hired Jessica Martinez as its first Vice President of Culture during a hiring spree.

Martinez will implement and expand the game’s studio’s culture strategy, as well as lead a learning and development team that will help create a work environment where people feel “safe, valued” and eager to cooperate. A 14-year veteran of Disney, Martinez was Chief of Staff there and advised both the Chief Security Office and the park’s Chief Technology & Digital Officer. She was also known for building a diversity-and value-focused culture. According to Blizzard, while there, she led efforts to harmonize security when Disney bought key Fox studios and channels.

The Activision hiring comes just weeks after the Overwatch publisher hired diversity chief Kristen Hines. It also follows months of employee shuffles and organizational efforts in the wake of the Bobby Kotick scandal, which has led to much turmoil for the company. They have taken action by ousting or disciplining numerous workers for participating in or tolerating a hostile work culture. This includes former Blizzard President J. Allen Brack. They also launched a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” designed to fight discrimination and harassment.

However, whether these measures are enough to stop all these troubles still isn’t clear. Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick is still at the company despite pressure for him to resign and a New York City lawsuit. The Communications Workers of America union, meanwhile, has filed a complaint with US labour officials accusing the company of silencing the discussion surrounding harassment lawsuits.

While Martinez may bring valuable cultural improvements, it still seems like the firm is resisting change, even after a July 20, 2021 lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after a two-year investigation that led to accusations of “frat-boy culture” that put female employers in the crosshairs, according to Bloomberg Law. With all that said, it seems like Martinez has a lot of work in front of her in order to get the publisher back to being a respected name in the industry.

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