A WSJ report claims Kotick willfully covered the sexual assault allegations and failed to report them to the board. The Board has released a statement backing its CEO.
This morning, the Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell article
that shows Activision CEO Bobby Kotick knowing about the rampant sexual assault allegations plaguing the company and failed to report them to the Board of Directors.
A female employee at Sledgehammer Games, an Activision-owned studio, alleged that she was raped twice in 2016 and 2017 after being pressured to consume copious amounts of alcohol during company events. She went to human resources and other supervisors but did not receive any help. An email sent by her lawyer to Kotick in 2018 detailed these allegations--and despite an out-of-court settlement and police intervention, Kotick never told the board.
Kotick Denies Lying to the Board
Despite multiple regulatory investigations and more than 500 reports received since the California lawsuit
was filed in July, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick denies withholding information from the Board and says he remains committed "to making sure we have the most welcoming, most inclusive workplace in the industry."
However, the Wall Street Journal reports that this was not the case. The Board was blindsided by the lawsuits and was especially concerned when it came to light that an employee had killed herself after her a picture of her vagina was circulated around a company party. Kotick replied rather nonsensically that any and all cultural issues were solely at the Blizzard Entertainment Department and were handled years ago.
The Email that Fran "Wrote"
Even worse, the infamous email that was allegedly sent by former Bush administration member and current executive Fran Townsend wasn't even sent by Fran at all. Bobby Kotick reportedly sent the email under her name.
In August, nearly a month after the initial lawsuit, longtime employee Jen Oneal became the Blizzard co-head. Yet on Nov. 2, Ms. Oneal, who is Asian-American and gay, resigned after speaking out about her own experience at Activision and realizing that "it was clear that the company would never prioritize our people the right way.”
Stand By Your Man
In response to the article, the Board of Directors have released a statement
that denies the allegations and stands by Kotick:
“The Activision Blizzard Board remains committed to the goal of making Activision Blizzard the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry. Under Bobby Kotick's leadership the Company is already implementing industry-leading changes including a zero-tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent. The Board remains confident that Activision
CEO Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.
The goals we have set for ourselves are both critical and ambitious. The Board remains confident in Bobby Kotick's leadership, commitment and ability to achieve these goals.”
With this, Activision employees have immediately organized and staged a walkout
occurring as of publishing time.