Activision Asks Shareholders To Vote Against Harassment Report
Just when you thought Activision Blizzard was out of the woods and had managed to dodge the hail of bullets from the infamous Cosby Suite with allegations of a frat boy culture of sexist and sexual harassment, the case has reared its ugly head once again.
Amidst these grim claims and CEO Bobby Kotick entrenching him in the ranks of Activision Blizzard with no sign of going anywhere, we largely paved over the cracks when Microsoft swooped in to buy the troubled publisher for a record-breaking $68.7 billion. Things were on the up thanks to the hiring of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, but it didn't last long.
What's Going On With Activision Blizzard?
In his opening comments of the annual shareholder meeting notice, Kotick said Activision Blizzard has "implemented a number of initiatives designed to enhance our workplace culture," reiterating that it now releases data on employee pay and representation. All of these steps are welcomed (if overdue), however, it's here that things start to unravel.
Activision Blizzard urged shareholders to vote against two proposals, with the first being an annual report looking into harassment and discrimination. Countering the proposal, the report states: "The Board believes that, rather than diverting energy and resources toward creating yet another report, we should continue to directly respond to employee concerns. Focusing all our attention on these concerns is the best way quickly and effectively to create genuine change in our workplace."
If the report gets the go-ahead, it would include figures on the number of sexual abuse, harassment, and discrimination complaints that are ongoing, how long it takes to internally resolve these cases, and how much is being spent on all of the above. All of this sounds like pretty standard stuff that should be reported, but remember, it's unlikely to paint the board in a positive light. The board says this would "create a set of metrics that are simply not the best measures of how the Company is responding to employee concerns."
Activision Blizzard Asked To Vote Against Proposal 4
It's also suggested that shareholders vote against Proposal 4 - which would allow an employee representative on the board. The statement reads: "While the Board appreciates hearing the perspectives of our shareholders, as we describe below, we do not believe this proposal is in the best interests of the Company or its shareholders."
Although the board apparently supports Activision Blizzard's "mission of becoming the most welcoming, inclusive company in our industry," it believes it can do this without interference from an employee representative. While we're busy championing a brighter future for the likes of Call of Duty and Overwatch, it's important to remember the very real-world issues currently facing Activision Blizzard, and its employees fighting for more clarity on what's going on behind closed doors.