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Bobby Kotick apologizes for ‘tone deaf’ response to sex discrimination charges at Activision Blizzard

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized for the “tone deaf” enterprise response to allegations of sex discrimination at the large video game publisher.



In a statement to all workers, Kotick stated that he appreciated the courage of all of the workers who have come forward with their personal complaints in the wake of the lawsuit filed by the state of California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.



“Every voice matters — and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future,” Kotick stated. “Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.”

He stated it is crucial that the enterprise, which publishes games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of these who have been mistreated in any way.

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“I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding,” he stated.

He was referencing an internal memo to workers from Fran Townsend, chief compliance officer, that denied the allegations in the lawsuit, as if the enterprise had been attempting to aggressively combat the state agency rather than look at the possibility that some of the testimony from its personal workers could possibly be valid.

Many people today pointed out that former Blizzard president Mike Morhaime, former executive Chris Metzen, Activision president Rob Kostich, and existing president J. Allen Brack utilised far much better tone in acknowledging achievable failings in the previous and how this let the females of Blizzard down.

Townsend’s note stated that the lawsuit presented a “distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories — some from more than a decade ago.” She stated the Activision organizations of today are wonderful organizations with superior values. She stated the enterprise requires a hardline method to inappropriate or hostile work environments and sexual harassment concerns. She described what the enterprise has carried out to make it a lot easier to report violations and how it investigates them. But she also stated, “We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity to all employees.”

This message from Townsend served to anger each outsiders and workers. Outsiders known as for boycotts of the company’s games, whilst some workers stated they would stage a walkout on Wednesday.

Kotick’s message appeared to be an try to stroll back the hardline stance. Kotick stated that making sure that the enterprise has a secure and welcoming work atmosphere is his highest priority.

“The leadership team has heard you loud and clear,” Kotick wrote. “We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.”

He stated the enterprise will do all the things achievable to make sure that with each other, the enterprise improves and builds the type of inclusive workplace that is crucial to foster creativity and inspiration.

“I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace,” Kotick stated. “This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.”

Kotick stated that everyone with violations of policy to report or other troubles that made people uncomfortable in the workplace could use current channels to report these troubles or attain out to Avakian.

“Your outreach will be kept confidential,” Kotick stated. “Of course, no retaliation will be tolerated. We are committed to long-lasting change. Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions.”

You can see the actions the enterprise will be taking under.

We’ll update this story as we see responses come in about the message.

Image Credit: Activision Blizzard

Here’s the complete text of the letter from Kotick.

This has been a challenging and upsetting week.

I want to recognize and thank all these who have come forward in the previous and in current days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a much better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the concerns we face with each other, and to your issues, had been, pretty frankly, tone deaf.

It is crucial that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of these who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the correct empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so lots of people today have reached out and shared thoughts, ideas, and highlighted possibilities for improvement is a effective reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for every other. Ensuring that we have a secure and welcoming work atmosphere is my highest priority. The leadership group has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring enterprise you came to work for and to guarantee a secure atmosphere. There is no spot anyplace at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal remedy of any type.

We will do all the things achievable to make sure that with each other, we strengthen and develop the type of inclusive workplace that is crucial to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a critique of our policies and procedures to guarantee that we have and retain very best practices to market a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will commence right away. The WilmerHale group will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management group at WilmerHale and was most not too long ago the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage everyone with an expertise you think violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our lots of current channels for reporting or to attain out to Stephanie. She and her group at WilmerHale will be obtainable to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at [email protected] or 202-247-2725. Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to extended-lasting modify. Effective right away, we will be taking the following actions:

1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate every and each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this location we are adding further senior employees and other sources to each the Compliance group and the Employee Relations group.

2. Listening Sessions. We know lots of of you have inspired concepts on how to strengthen our culture. We will be producing secure spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share places for improvement.

3. Personnel Changes. We are right away evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone located to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing proper consequences will be terminated.

4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an e-mail requiring all hiring managers to guarantee they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance sources to guarantee that our hiring managers are in reality adhering to this directive.

5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.

Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no enterprise resource making sure that our enterprise has the most welcoming, comfy, and secure culture achievable.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will strengthen our enterprise with each other, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment enterprise in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Bobby

 

 



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