CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, and the company are facing more tension from business partners and employees with many more firings related to misconduct problems.
More information has been released on Activision Blizzard and how it has been handling one of the biggest controversies in the gaming industry. A released summary reported that over three dozen employees have been fired while 40 more have received disciplinary action against them since last July. CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, had planned to release a summary of the employee and management changes back in December but decided against it because it was said that it could make the company’s workplace problems seem bigger than is already known, as reported by WSJ.
After mounting pressure from the company’s shareholders, business partners and staff to handle its sexual harassment allegations and workplace misconduct problems, the summary revealed some shocking figures of reported incidents. About 700 reports of employee concerns related to disturbing practices in the workplace—some were multiple reports about the same incident—all of these reports have only been since last July when a Californian state agency filed a lawsuit against the harassment claims.
An Activision Blizzard official, Helaine Klasky, made an important note that the accuracy of what has been happening at the company, in terms of personnel changes, is actually 37 people who have “exited” and 44 employees have been disciplined. She disputed the 700 figure in relation to the reports as she said that most of these included reports included statements on social media and what she described as small workplace concerns. Klasky expanded, “The assertion regarding Mr. Kotick is untrue… our focus is making sure we have accurate data and analysis to share.”
What Klasky referred to with Kotick was related to the past October report that Kotick admitted he knew about the workplace issues for some time and there was a public petition of over 500 employees asking for Kotick to resign due to poor overall leadership. Kotick mentioned that he would step down only if he could not fix the workplace culture quickly.
It has already been about 6 months and the World of Warcraft and Overwatch creators have been making a number of changes as it faces multiple investigations. Activision Blizzard has been under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
So far, the company has implemented a “zero-tolerance harassment policy.” Then, the Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Alegre, stated in a company letter that they will be raising the shares of women and nonbinary employees by 50% in the next five years, and they plan to be more transparent with their information. The Chief Compliance Officer, Frances Townsend, has also been at the helm of cutting employees who are found guilty of bad behaviour.
While Activision Blizzard has been making some changes, the question remains: is there enough reparations for the damage caused to the employees over the many years of abuse in the workplace? Only time will tell and if Kotick is thinking of stepping down, as many of his employees strongly suggest.