Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologises for “tone deaf” response to the company’s sexual harassment lawsuit

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has apologised to employees for the company’s initial response to the harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed against the company. Kotick also said that Activision Blizzard are “committed to long-lasting change.”

In a letter sent to all employees, Kotick apologised for Activision Blizzard’s initial statement, which described the allegations against the company as “distorted, and in many cases false.”

“Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf,” said Kotick. “It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.”

Promising “quick action,” Kotick revealed that Activision Blizzard has recruited law firm WilmerHale to review the company’s policies and procedures. He also encouraged employees to reach out to WilmerHale’s team to confidentially report any policy violations.

Additionally, Kotick stated that Activision Blizzard are “committed to long-lasting change,” outlining five actions to achieve this:

  1. “Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
  2. Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.
  3. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.
  4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.
  5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.”

Kotick’s statement, which comes almost a full week after news of the lawsuit broke, takes a remarkably different tone to the first statement put out by the company.

“I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days,” said Kotick. “I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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