Kotick says Activision Blizzard will set industry example in handling misconduct

Kotick says Activision Blizzard will set industry example in handling misconduct

The CEO of Activision Blizzard Robert Kotick (pictured) has vowed that the company will be setting the industry example in how it handles workplace misconduct.

Speaking to investors – as transcribed by Seeking Alpha – the exec began the firm's financial call by saying that the kind of behaviour alleged in a recently-filed California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) lawsuit has "no place" at Activision Blizzard.

Kotick also said he appreciates those who have come forward about their treatment at the company and that change was already underway at Activision Blizzard. The exec cited the appointment of new Blizzard co-leaders Jennifer Oneal and Mike Ybarra – replacing president J Allen Brack, who is stepping down – as evidence of this.

"I want to start by making clear to everyone that there is no place at our company where discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind will be tolerated, nowhere," he said.

"We so appreciate the current and former employees who have come forward in past and recent days with courage. And I want to reiterate the commitments we have made to you. Our work environment everywhere we operate will not permit discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment. We will be the company that sets the example for this in our industry. While we've taken many steps towards this objective already, today, we are taking even more."

Furthermore, Kotick said that Activision Blizzard would be looking into every allegation against its staff and will take "decisive action." The exec added that the firm would be hiring and giving more resources to ensuring its workplace is safe.

"That commitment means that we will not just terminate employees where appropriate, but will also terminate any manager or leader found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences," he said.

"Because our work cannot be successful without diverse voices, views, and talents, we made a commitment to consider diverse slates of candidates for all open positions. And we'll continue to add resources to ensure this occurs throughout the company."

It remains to be seen whether this is just noise to placate investors and give the impression that it is addressing the problem.

The DFEH was filed at the end of July and outlines a toxic working culture where harassment, abuse and misconduct was rife. The response from Activision Blizzard was – by Kotick's own admissions – "tone deaf" and the exec has said that the firm is bringing in law firm WilmerHale to review its HR policies.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.