Xbox, PlayStation and 1,000 employees are very unhappy with Activision Blizzard

Earlier this week, an article in the Wall Street Journal claimed that Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, had suppressed reports of harassment and abuse in the company over the years. Now, two of the publisher’s main partners – Xbox and PlayStation – are criticizing the company, and 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a petition calling for the dismissal of Kotick as CEO.

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer sent an email to staff saying he “evaluates all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and makes ongoing proactive adjustments,” according to a Bloomberg report. A spokesman for Microsoft confirmed that Bloomberg’s report was correct and passed on a further statement from Spencer.

“I personally have strong values ​​for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox,” says Spencer. “This is not a destination, but a journey we will always be on. The management of Xbox and Microsoft stands by our teams and supports them in building a safer environment for all.”

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that a similar email was distributed to PlayStation employees by division chief Jim Ryan, in which he said the company had contacted Activision Blizzard to “express our deep concern and ask how they plan to deal” the allegations “of the original WSJ report.

ABK Workers Alliance, a group of Activision Blizzard employees, has launched a petition calling for an end to Kotick’s tenure as CEO. The petition now has signatures from over 1,000 employees and contractors.

“We, the undersigned, no longer trust the management of Bobby Kotick as CEO of Activision Blizzard,” the petition reads. “The information that has emerged about his behavior and practice in the operation of our companies is contrary to the culture and integrity we require of our management – and is in direct conflict with the initiatives that our colleagues have started. We request that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard and that shareholders be allowed to elect the new CEO without input from Bobby, who we know owns a significant portion of the shareholders’ voting rights. “

The ABK Workers Alliance has also launched a petition calling for public support for Kotick’s removal. The petition currently has over 4,000 signatures.

A representative of Activision Blizzard was asked for a comment and made the following statement: “We respect all feedback from our valued partners and engage further with them. We have detailed important changes we have implemented in recent weeks and we will continue to do so. “We are committed to working to ensure that our culture and workplace is safe, diverse and inclusive. We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team.”

Activision Blizzard is facing a lawsuit filed in July by the state of California (since expanding to QA and customer service providers) alleging years of discrimination and harassment. Since then, CEO Bobby Kotick has called the company’s initial response “tone deaf”, employees have staged a strike, Blizzard President J Allen Brack has left and the ABK Workers Alliance has called for changes in the company. The trial is ongoing; follow the latest developments here.

In September, an agency under the US Federal Government launched an investigation into Activision Blizzard’s response to complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination by its employees, part of which Kotick has reportedly been sued. The company is also facing a separate case of unfair labor practices with allegations of “workers ‘threats and union dismantling” filed by a workers’ union, also in September. In another separate development, Activision Blizzard reached an agreement with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “to settle claims and to further strengthen policies and programs to prevent harassment and discrimination”. In a subsequent letter to employees, the company has announced an end to forced arbitration, a $ 250 million initiative to improve diversity and a major pay cut for Kotick.

A new report released in November now claims that Bobby Kotick was aware of and suppressed reports of sexual misconduct. Kotick has responded with an official statement saying the Wall Street Journal article “paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our business, of me personally and my leadership.” In response, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors stated that it “remains confident” about Kotick’s management.

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