Call of Duty gamemaker Activision Blizzard CEO knew of abuse complaints: report

  • Call of duty gamemaker Activision Blizzard CEO knew of harassment complaints long before workplace turmoil erupted at the video game giant.
By AFP
| Updated on Nov 17 2021, 07:16 AM IST
Employees of the Call of Duty video game company, Activision Blizzard, hold a walkout and protest rally to denounce the company's response to a lawsuit .
Employees of the Call of Duty video game company, Activision Blizzard, hold a walkout and protest rally to denounce the company's response to a lawsuit . (AFP)

Call of Duty gamemaker Activision Blizzard CEO knew of harassment complaints long before workplace turmoil erupted at the video game giant, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Activision chief Bobby Kotick has for years been looped into reports of abuses that included an allegation of rape, but did not share all that he knew with the board of directors, according to the report.

A spokesperson responding to an AFP inquiry said the Journal story presented a "misleading" view of the company and its chief executive. "Instances of sexual misconduct that were brought to his attention were acted upon," the spokesperson told AFP.

"At Mr. Kotick's direction, we have made significant improvements, including a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate conduct." The California-based maker of "Call of Duty" has been hit by employee protests, departures, and a state lawsuit alleging it enabled toxic workplace conditions and sexual harassment against women.

Activision early this month said it was delaying eagerly-awaited sequels to its hit Diablo and Overwatch franchises as it deals with upheaval due to workplace conditions.

"In recent months, we have taken actions that resulted in the departure of a number of individuals across the company," chief operating officer Daniel Alegre said on an earnings call.

"As we have worked with new leadership at Blizzard, and within the franchises themselves, particularly in certain key creative roles, it has become apparent that some of the Blizzard content planned for year will benefit from more development time to reach its full potential."

The company recently announced measures intended to strengthen anti-harassment protections.

Kotick has apologized and asked the board to slash his pay to the California legal minimum of $62,500 until the panel "has determined that we have achieved the transformational gender-related goals."

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First Published Date: 17 Nov, 07:16 AM IST
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