Over 500 Activision Blizzard employees have publicly signed a petition for the removal of the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick. In addition, the petition asks that Kotick not be involved in the choosing of a new CEO.
The petition follows an explosive report from The Wall Street Journal, revealing that Kotick had full knowledge of the sexual harassment allegations for years, and chose to do nothing. The article also provides details on instances of Kotick’s own disparaging treatment toward women in the company. Hours after the report came to light, over 150 Activision Blizzard employees staged a walkout at multiple offices.
ABK Workers Alliance has published the petition, and it’s been tweeted out by a wealth of different Activision employees. The text of the letter reads, “We, the undersigned, no longer have confidence in the leadership of Bobby Kotick as the CEO of Activision Blizzard. The information that has come to light about his behaviours and practices in the running of our companies runs counter to the culture and integrity we require of our leadership — and directly conflicts with the initiatives started by our peers.”
Activision Blizzard has been one of the biggest stories of the year, and for months more and more stories have been coming to light of misconduct at the highest levels of the company. At the end of October, Kotick took a pay cut and issued a statement where he said,
“I truly wish not a single employee had had an experience at work that resulted in hurt, humiliation, or worse – and to those who were affected, I sincerely apologize. You have my commitment that we will do everything possible to honor our values and create the workplace every member of this team deserves.”
That statement, obviously, rings hollow after this week’s report, but despite that, the company’s board of directors has issued a statement in support of Kotick. If you’d like to meet the board members responsible, Kotaku has done some reporting on the subject. The company is receiving heat from other areas of the industry as well, however, as PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan expressed his disappointment in the company’s “timid” response, and stated “disheartened and frankly stunned.”
Activision and Kotick have yet to comment on the new employee petition.
Update 11/18/21 2:58pm ET:
Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has sent an internal email to employees saying they are “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.” The email was obtained by Bloomberg, and Spencer says the company is “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions,” following the latest reports about Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.