Activision Blizzard staff goes on strike over rape probe, shares drop
18:45, 17 November 2021
Photo: Dinosaur918/wikipedia.org/CC BY-SA 3.0
The action comes shortly after the appearance of the WSJ report presuming that CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of sexual misconduct within the company but did not inform the company’s board.
Activision Blizzard employees have walked out demanding CEO Bobby Kotick’s dismissal after a report presumed that he knew about sexual misconduct in the firm but did not report them.
The staff created a union promoting “Zero Tolerance Policy” and announced that they required a third-party review conducted by an agent of their choice.
We have instituted our own Zero Tolerance Policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO, and continue to hold our original demand for Third-Party review by an employee-chosen source. We are staging a Walkout today. We welcome you to join us.
After the strike declaration, Activision Blizzard shares dropped and closed over 6% down on Tuesday.
According to the report issued by the Wall Street Journal, a former female employee at Sledgehammer Games sent in 2018 an email to Kotick saying that she had been raped in 2016 and 2017 by her male supervisor after having been pressured to drink an excessive amount of alcohol.
She claims that she told human resources and Kotick about the incidents but no measures were taken. She adds that the problem was solved without taking legal action but Kotick still did not inform the company’s board.
An Activision representative responded that the report was inaccurate and represented a “misleading view” of Kotick, highlighting that the CEO paid attention to cases of sexual misconduct and took action on them.
“The WSJ ignores important changes underway to make this the industry’s most welcoming and inclusive workplace and it fails to account for the efforts of thousands of employees who work hard every day to live up to their — and our — values,” Activision Blizzard said in a statement on its website.
On the same day, Kotick sent a video message to his employees assuring them that making an inclusive workplace was his priority. He was endorsed by the company’s board of directors who were sure that the CEO addressed the issues in a proper way.
Activision Blizzard has been facing a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit alleging promoting a “frat boy culture” within the company since July. The company has been scrutinized over working conditions and how it dealt with claims of sexual misconduct.
At the beginning of August Blizzard President J. Allen Brack retired from the position and was replaced by Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal who became the first female to lead the company in its history.