Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal published a powerful and damning report revealing Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick's role in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct and mistreatment that have recently plagued the company. It's a story that details a culture of complicit silence and cover-ups, out-of-court settlements, multiple failures to communicate serious incidents to the board, and on one occasion, his allegedly threatening to have one employee killed.
It's a distressing read, sadly made all the more shocking by the follow-up statement from Activision Blizzard's board of directors. "Under Bobby Kotick's leadership," it reads, "the Company is already implementing industry leading changes including a zero tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent. The Board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention."
Given the magnitude of the accusations, given Kotick's part in allowing this culture to thrive, and given Jennifer Oneal stepped down as co-head of Blizzard after only three months, writing of being 'tokenised, marginalised, and discriminated against', the response is truly appalling. Kotick's position is now surely untenable, the only path forward for Activision Blizzard being one without him at the helm. The zero tolerance policy used in the board's statement, which last night saw the departure of Treyarch co-head of studio Dan Bunting without comment, must now also be extended to Kotick himself.
Yesterday, Activision Blizzard staff staged a walkout, demanding Kotick be replaced as CEO. We support them in their actions, and stand by fellow members of the press who have called for Kotick to resign. We agree with Activision Blizzard that a zero tolerance policy is the only way forward - and that Bobby Kotick, who is now inextricably linked by this report to the culture at Activision Blizzard, take responsibility and step aside. Only then can the awful situation he's presided over improve.
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