UPDATE (4:20 PM): Activision, its board of directors, and CEO Bobby Kotick himself have responded to the report with statements of their own.
ORIGINAL STORY (11:514 AM):
One of the most interesting ongoing legal fights in the video games scene these days are Epic Games’ battle against Apple and Google, as well as the investigation surrounding Activision Blizzard. On the latter case, there have been a fair number of major developments, including former Blizzard CEO J. Allen Brack leaving. And then shortly after, one of the co-heads of Blizzard, Jen Oneal, announced that she will be leaving.
But recently, the Wall Street Journal dropped a major bombshell report that allegedly reveals a lot more about the behind-the-scenes situation. One major point that the report highlights is that Activision Blizzard CEO actually knew of a number of sexual harrassment cases, but kept quiet about them.
Additionally, he also had a number of misconduct episodes himself, including one death threat. He also greenlit the much-maligned internal email sent by Frances Townsend, the company’s Chief Compliance Officer. A spokesperson even went as far as to say that “Ms Townsend should not be blamed for this mistake”.
Circling back to Jen Oneal, the co-head of Blizzard who will be leaving at the end of the year. The report indicated that Oneal “professed a lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to turn the culture around”. She also revealed that she was “paid less than her male counterpart at the helm of Blizzard”, referring to the other co-head Mike Ybarra.
It all paints a not-so-pretty picture for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who has already drawn the ire various kinds of people in the video games industry. It remains to be seen though in the long term what would result from the publication of this damning report by the WSJ.
UPDATE (4:20 PM):
Activision has issued a statement regarding the WSJ report, categorising it as misleading. Though the statement doesn’t doesn’t refute any specific claims that the report put forward. Similarly, the company’s board of directors released another statement, expressing that it “remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention”.
Kotick himself has also responded with a statement of his own. One major highlight in the statement is a line where he says “anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming and inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me”.