The CEO of American game producer Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, promises action after an indictment of discrimination and sexual misconduct in the workplace. In a letter, more than 2,600 employees condemned the board’s initial response to a lawsuit in California.
A California government agency is taking the company behind the hit series “Call of Duty” to court because of a culture of bullying in the workplace. These include sexual harassment, overt discrimination and unequal pay for women. The charge was preceded by two years of investigation.
In an initial response, the board denied the allegations, calling the lawsuit “irresponsible behavior by state bureaucrats”. However, that reaction was not well received by many employees, who expressed their displeasure in a letter signed by more than 2,600 of the 9,500 employees. They also planned a work stoppage.
In a letter to the staff, CEO Bobby Kotick is now going through the dust. “Honestly, our initial reactions to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were tone deaf,” he writes. “I’m sorry we haven’t shown appropriate empathy and understanding.”
Kotick promises immediate action to ensure a safe working environment. A law firm will review Activision Blizzard’s policies and procedures. Executives will be immediately evaluated and their contract will be terminated if they have not properly responded to complaints.
Kotick also wants to intervene in the games that the company publishes. “We’ve heard input from employees and players that some content in our games is inappropriate. We are removing that content.”