Update: More than 1300 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a petition demanding that CEO Bobby Kotick resign in the wake of this week's Wall Street Journal report alleging his failure to act on knowledge of misconduct at studios within the company.
At the time of writing, the petition lists 1337 employees from across various Activision Blizzard departments and studios, and carries the following statement:
We, the undersigned, no longer have confidence in the leadership of Bobby Kotick as the CEO of Activision Blizzard. The information that has come to light about his behaviors and practices in the running of our companies runs counter to the culture and integrity we require of our leadership--and directly conflicts with the initiatives started by our peers. We ask that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer is also reported to be 'evaluating' Xbox's relationship with Activision.
Original Story (Thu 18th Nov, 2021 12:00 GMT): Approximately 150 Activision Blizzard employees assembled outside the Blizzard offices in Irvine, California yesterday in protest of the company's CEO, Bobby Kotick, following allegations of misconduct made in a recent Wall Street Journal report.
The employees gathered to protest the executive's continued role at the company following claims that the CEO was directly informed of various misconduct allegations and harassment complaints, including a sexual assault incident in 2016 at Sledgehammer Games that was settled out-of-court, yet Kotick did not inform the Activision Blizzard board of directors at the time.
The report also references an incident in 2006 where Kotick reportedly threatened to have an assistant killed over voicemail.
Activision released a defensive statement in response to the WSJ report which references a recently drafted 'zero-tolerance policy', apparently instigated by Kotick:
The ABK Workers Alliance, who are calling for Kotick's resignation, tweeted in response to Activision's own statement:
The report alleges examples of Kotick failing to disclose internal investigations to the board of directors, and also suggests that the controversial email sent by Fran Townsend to employees following the misconduct and discrimination lawsuit filed in July this year — one that Kotick subsequently described as "tone deaf" — was, in fact, drafted by Kotick himself.
This latest development in the ongoing Activision Blizzard situation comes after Jen Oneal recently resigned as co-leader of Blizzard following the departure of J. Allen Brack in August. Oneal and Mike Ybarra had been appointed co-leaders, although the former Vicarious Visions boss stepped down after only three months. The WSJ report suggests that her departure came as the result of being paid less than Ybarra despite their joint position, and from being "tokenised, marginalised, and discriminated against" at the company.