Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick says the company’s initial response to the discrimination lawsuit was “muffled” • Eurogamer.net
Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick told staff that the company’s initial response to the recently filed discrimination lawsuit was “muffled.”
“Our initial responses to the issues we faced together and to your concerns were, frankly, muffled,” Kotick said in an open letter to company staff made public last night.
“It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been abused in any way. I am sorry that we have not provided adequate empathy and understanding.”
This week, more than 2,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees signed a petition calling the company’s response to the recent discrimination lawsuit “abhorrent and insulting.”
Activision Blizzard’s initial comment on the lawsuit was to flatly deny its claims.
Staff then harshly criticized an email sent to staff by Activision Blizzard executive Fran Townsend, who was George W. Bush’s national security and counterterrorism assistant from 2004 to 2008.
“A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and false image of our company, including incorrect, old and out of context fact stories, some from more than a decade ago,” Townsend said in the email.
“We work in a company that really values equality and justice,” he added.
“Rest assured that the leadership is committed to continuing to maintain a safe, fair and inclusive workplace. We cannot allow the heinous actions of others and a truly irresponsible and meritless demand to damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity to all the employees”.
Last night, Activision Blizzard employees announced a strike scheduled for today, July 28, in protest of the company’s response.
Activision shares fell as much as nine percent in trading Tuesday amid the ongoing fallout. Now Kotick, who owns more than 4 million shares in Activision Blizzard, has issued his statement, announcing that the WilmerHale law firm has been drafted to review the company’s policies and procedures.
Sure enough, right away, Kotick said, there are five actions: more support for employees; listening sessions moderated by third parties; “personnel changes” (“We are immediately evaluating the Company’s managers and leaders. Anyone who has impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated”); more resources to ensure hiring managers have diverse lists of candidates for all open positions; and “game changes”.
On the fifth point, Kotick said that “we have heard the opinion of the employee and player communities that some of our content in the game is inappropriate. We are removing that content.”
This is consistent with a statement released last night by the World of Warcraft development team on social media, which said that “references that are not appropriate for our world” would be removed. The team said that changes will be made to the Shadowlands expansion and World of Warcraft Classic in the coming days.
– World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) July 27, 2021
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Blizzard has yet to say what these changes will be, but they are expected to include the removal of a character from the game based on the former World of Warcraft senior creative director who was allegedly “allowed to engage in blatant sexual harassment with little to no repercussion. “.
Players had asked Blizzard to remove a mission giver in Stormwind City named Field Marshal Afrasiabi from the game, along with his associated missions and all in-game content related to the former Senior Creative Director.
Kotick, who recently saw his $ 155 million salary package approved by shareholders, ended his statement with this:
“Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resources to ensure that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable and safe culture possible.
“You have my unwavering commitment that together we will improve our business and be the most inspiring and inclusive entertainment company in the world.”