The CEO of Activision Blizzard has admitted that the corporate’s combative response to a disturbing sexual harassment swimsuit was “tone deaf” — and is reportedly giving some workers time without work to protest in opposition to their very own firm.
“Our preliminary responses to the problems we face collectively, and to your issues, had been, fairly frankly, tone deaf,” Bobby Kotick wrote in a Tuesday night electronic mail to workers that was obtained by The Submit. “I’m sorry that we didn’t present the fitting empathy and understanding.”
Kotick’s repentant letter got here the evening earlier than Activision Blizzard workers are on account of stroll out from work in protest of the corporate’s “abhorrent” response to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the state of California.
Workers of Blizzard — the division of the corporate accountable for “World of Warcraft” the place among the worst misconduct allegedly passed off — shall be given paid time without work to attend the protest, in keeping with the Verge.
An Activision Blizzard spokesperson didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark about stories of paid time without work for workers.
The state of California’s lawsuit, filed final week, accused Activision Blizzard — which additionally makes video games like “Name of Obligation” and “Guitar Hero” — of allegedly fostering a “frat bro” tradition stuffed with rape jokes, crude feedback and groping that even drove one feminine worker to suicide.
When information of the swimsuit broke, Activision Blizzard got here out swinging, telling The Submit that it was stuffed with “distorted, and in lots of instances false, descriptions of Blizzard’s previous.”
In the meantime, Activision Blizzard government Fran Townsend — a former Bush administration Homeland Safety senior advisor — despatched out an inside be aware telling workers that the swimsuit “introduced a distorted and unfaithful image of our firm, together with factually incorrect, outdated and out of context tales — some from greater than a decade in the past,” in accordance to Bloomberg.
In a letter that racked up greater than 2,600 signatures, Activision Blizzard workers slammed Townsend by identify and referred to as the corporate’s general response to the swimsuit “abhorrent and insulting.”
Now Kotick — who’s pocketing a $155 million pay bundle this yr — is making amends.
“The management group has heard you loud and clear,” he wrote. “We’re dedicated to long-lasting change.”
Along with apologizing for the corporate’s combative response, Kotick pledged to fireplace any managers discovered to retaliate in opposition to or impede misconduct investigations and to take away unspecified “inappropriate” content material from the corporate’s video games.