Employees at Activision Blizzard were reportedly told at a company meeting last night that the company’s zero-tolerance policy on harassment won’t apply to CEO Bobby Kotick.
According to GameDeveloper, Activision Blizzard’s leadership held an all-hands meeting for employees to ask questions about the company’s management following Tuesday’s report from The Wall Street Journal. The report alleged that Kotick knew about the sexual harassment taking place within Activision Blizzard for years, only to lie about the allegations to his shareholders. When employees asked if the zero-tolerance policy will apply to the CEO, the leadership said it won’t, citing the company’s lack of evidence of claims against him because they happened over a decade ago.
Ironically, Kotick announced the company-wide zero-tolerance policy last month. In a letter addressed to all employees, he wrote that not only will Activision Blizzard drop forced arbitration of future sexual harassment cases, but also that any employee will be immediately terminated if investigators find that they retaliated against anyone who filed a harassment complaint against them.
As soon as the WSJ article went live, more than 150 employees staged a walkout calling for Kotick to resign from his position. Later that night, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors released a statement giving their vote of confidence to the CEO despite the allegations stacked against him in the report, leading shareholders to call for his resignation as well as that of the other leaders.
Meanwhile, game industry leaders are criticizing the way Activision Blizzard reacted to the WSJ report. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan condemned the company for not doing enough to address its toxic culture of harassment and discrimination towards female employees.