After a report related to CEO Bobby Kotick’s knowledge of longstanding and widespread sexual harassment and discrimination allegations at the video game company, raised questions, this was the company’s second employee to walk out which happened in just less than six months, and this was confronted by an Activision Blizzard.
On Tuesday, according to the group organizing it, over 100 Activision Blizzard employees staged a walkout by the motive of Kotick to step down as CEO. The walkout came in response to a Wall Street Journal investigation which was published one day earlier and it also cited internal company documents and people who were familiar with the matter which showed that Kotick already knew about those issues several years back.
On Tuesday, a video message was transcribed and posted on the company’s website for the employees, Kotick claimed that the Journal story “paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of me personally, and my leadership.” He added that “anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me.”
While the report rekindled tensions among some employees, the board of directors of Activision Blizzard reiterated their support for Kotick. In a statement released Tuesday, the board stated, “The Board remains confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment, and ability” to address the company’s long-standing and ongoing issues with harassment and discrimination.
The organizers of the walkout said in a statement: “If the board allows this to continue, they are just as complicit. It’s past time for Bobby to step down.”
For months, Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which owns hugely popular games like “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Candy Crush,” has been embroiled in a sexual harassment and discrimination scandal, and is currently under investigation by multiple government agencies.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit in July alleging a “frat boy” workplace culture in which women were subjected to constant discrimination and harassment. (At the time, the company told CNN that it had addressed previous misconduct and that the lawsuit was “inaccurate” and “distorted.”)