Activision CEO Apologises For ‘Tone Deaf’ Response
In the wake of the disturbing allegations and reports of a ‘frat boy culture’ and a culture of sexual harassment, Activision Blizzard released a statement on the matter, and many felt that it fell short. Employees followed up by signing a petition denouncing the company’s response that regarded the allegations as “inaccurate” and “distorted”. It isn't just staff in disgust, either - some fans staged a digital protest in World of Warcraft in wake of the allegations, making big donations to Black Girls Code in the process.
Following this, Activision Blizzard’s CEO has made a response, admitting that the initial response to the breaking news wasn’t good enough.
Activision Blizzard CEO Admits Lawsuit Response Was ‘Tone Deaf’
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard has come forward with a statement admitting the fault in the initial response to the lawsuit against the company. “This has been a difficult and upsetting week”, he begins. “I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage.”
He goes on to address the initial response to the lawsuit, stating that “Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf. It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences, and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.”
Bobby Kotick Promises Changes To Activision Blizzard’s Offices
In a bid to resecure trust from employees, Kotick puts forward in his statement some changes he intends to bring to the Activision Blizzard offices. He promises the following:
- Employee Support. “We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.”
- Listening Sessions. “We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.”
- Personnel Changes. “We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.”
- Hiring Practices. “Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.”
- 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."
These changes are a good start for Activision Blizzard, but their effectiveness is determined by the staff who suffered as part of the company’s complacence in mass sexual harassment and a culture that has seriously affected staff. Kotick seems impassioned to help staff, but change remains to be seen for Activision Blizzard.