Dozens ‘exited’ Activision Blizzard over misconduct, CEO tried to keep departures quiet: report


Thirty-seven employees have “exited” from Activision Blizzard amid the gaming publisher’s workplace misconduct scandals, according to The Wall Street Journalciting internal documents.

A further 44 employees have been disciplined, Activision Blizzard spokesperson Helaine Klasky told the outlet.

Since last summer, the company has been facing a lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging years of fostering a “frat boy culture” that led to sexual harassment, unfair hiring practices and other forms of mistreatment of women.

However, given the ambiguity surrounding the word “exited,” it’s unclear exactly how many of those 37 people left voluntarily versus being pushed out. Likewise, Activision Blizzard wouldn’t specify exactly what form of disciplinary action has been taken against the 44 other employees.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that Activision Blizzard collected around 700 employee complaints who expressed concerns of workplace misconduct, although the company denied this to the outlet. Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard CEO, also reportedly shut down the release of a company report summarizing all of the above information to address the allegations. According to The Wall Street Journal, Kotick felt the report would make the company’s issues seem bigger than what has already been revealed.

Kotick himself has been the subject of immense scrutiny, especially following a November report from The Wall Street Journal alleging that he not only knew about the “frat boy culture,” but actively worked to keep it quiet. More than 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees quickly signed a petition calling for Kotick to resign, although the executive has said he would only consider doing so if the workplace issues aren’t fixed “with speed.”

Activision Blizzard is also facing a strike from dozens of developers at its Raven studio, which works on its massively popular Call of Duty: Warzone game. The workers were protesting the sudden termination of a dozen quality assurance (QA) contractors. The ABK Workers Alliance, which represents employees at Activision, Blizzard and King, has condemned the company for its “silence” over these protests.

All the while, Warzone players have been reporting numerous bugs in the game. Speaking to The Washington Post, multiple unnamed QA testers attributed these issues to the QA workers who were laid off from Raven. “You can’t just lose some of your hardest-working people and expect nothing to happen,” one of them told The Washington Post.

A GoFundMe has been set up to support the ABK Workers Alliance — you can check that out here.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Source: The Wall Street Journal





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