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Activision Blizzard employees say that Bobby Kotick’s statement “fails to address their concerns”

Activision Blizzard employees have responded to CEO Bobby Kotick’s belated statement regarding the harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed against the company, saying that Kotick failed to “address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns.”

In a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Activision Blizzard is accused of maintaining a ‘frat boy culture’ rife with sexual harassment and unequal pay and treatment for women at the company.

Hours before a planned staff walkout yesterday at Activision Blizzard, Kotick released a statement regarding the lawsuit – almost a full week after news first broke. In his statement, Kotick acknowledged that the company’s initial response was “tone deaf” and promised long-lasting change at the company.

Activision Blizzard’s initial statement was much more combative, describing the allegations as “distorted, and in many cases false,” and accused the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing of being “unaccountable State bureaucrats that are driving many of the State’s best businesses out of California.”

The employees participating in the walkout have responded in a statement released to IGN, saying that Kotick failed to address their concerns.

The Activision Blizzard employees outlined four main areas that Kotick’s statement did not address:

  1. The end of forced arbitration for all employees
  2. Worker participation in oversight of hiring and promotion policies
  3. The need for greater pay transparency to ensure equality
  4. Employee selection of a third party to audit HR and other company processes.

“While we are pleased to see that our collective voices – including an open letter with thousands of signatures from current employees – have convinced leadership to change the tone of their communications, this response fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns,” reads the statement.

“Today’s walkout will demonstrate that this is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore. We will not return to silence, we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.

“This is the beginning of an enduring movement in favour of better labour conditions for all employees, especially women, in particular women of colour and transgender women, nonbinary people and other marginalised groups.

“We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership on the points enumerated above, and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees.”

The Activision Blizzard walkout took place yesterday, in protest of the company’s response to the harassment lawsuit, and in order to drive change within the company. Taking place from 10am-2pm Pacific, those participating congregated at the Blizzard campus main gate, while those unable to attend in person were invited to stop work and share the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout on social media.

Prior to the walkout, an open letter from employees criticised the company’s response. Now sitting at over 1,000 signatures, the letter describes Activision Blizzard’s response to the lawsuit as “abhorrent and insulting.”

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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