Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has now issued a statement in regards to the company’s sexual harassment lawsuit, calling their response “tone deaf”.
Over the past week, Activision Blizzard received a flood of allegations from its employees. The state of California even launched a lawsuit on their behalf, amidst expansive allegations of sexual harassment, workplace toxicity, and discrimination.
In a letter to his staff, CEO Bobby Kotick called their initial response “tone deaf.” He also promised changes coming to how the company deals with these situations.
Activision Blizzard reaction lacked “empathy and understanding”
In his letter, Kotick said, “sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding”. He prefaced that the company “will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.”
"I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future." – CEO Bobby Kotick
Full letter here: https://t.co/SSXm6AEJ6I
— Activision Blizzard (@ATVI_AB) July 28, 2021
Much of the initial knee-jerk reaction from Activision Blizzard came out of self-preservation. Even then, the level of insensitivity of the denial is palpable. Much of the management either outwardly denied or went silent after the lawsuit came public.
“Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf,” said the letter.
“We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.”
Kotick letter comes out as company shares tank
Bobby Kotick is not exactly the most likable person in the gaming industry right now. Kotick is known to have raked in money recently while layoffs continued at Activision Blizzard. In addition, the response is too little too late.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick just sent the following letter to staff, calling the company's initial responses "tone deaf" and promising to take "swift action" by hiring a law firm to review the company's policies among other things https://t.co/NhDF9yFHeK
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 28, 2021
Kotick’s response came out only around the time when Activision’s shares are tanking. The company is at $84.05 at the time of this writing, compared to $90 in July 26.
With that said, the Activision CEO is announcing five actions to be effective immediately. These include improving employee support, listening sessions, and in-game changes to several titles.
The two most important promises, however, are personnel changes and more diverse hiring practices.
“We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration,” added the letter.
“I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately.”
Beyond the letter from Bobby Kotick that came out, the employees that walked out Wednesday have several demands. Among these include mandatory arbitration clauses and making employee compensation public.
Featured image courtesy of CNBC/Youtube Screenshot