Blizzard employees stage walkout after Bobby Kotick accusations

Olivia Richman • November 17, 18:07

Activision Blizzard is still experiencing inner turmoil as its employees walked out on the company in response to the latest allegations that have rocked it.

Blizzard employees are calling for CEO Bobby Kotick to be replaced after further allegations of misconduct and sexism were revealed in a new report by the Washington Journal.

According to the report, Kotick knew about the sexual misconduct “for years.” In response to the employees’ experiences, Kotick sent an internal email calling the allegations “misleading.” The Washington Journal article also stated that Kotick told an employee he would “have her killed.” He allegedly kept information regarding rape and other misconduct from the board, and even kept on executives that were themselves accused of sexual harassment.

“Soon after being appointed to co-head one of Activision’s most successful units, Blizzard, longtime exec Jen Oneal sent a scathing internal email, saying she didn’t think leadership could fix the culture problems. She said she had been sexually harassed and wanted to resign,” investigative reporter Kristen Grind said, noting that the decision was based on Kotick’s leadership specifically.

Blizzard employees demand Bobby Kotick be replaced, stage walkout

In response to the new information, Blizzard employees decided to create their own “zero-tolerance policy,” stating that they won’t be silenced any longer. The employees have decided to stage a walkout, welcoming supporters to join them. Their key demands are replacing Bobby Kotick as Activision Blizzard CEO and getting a third-party company review.

Kotick himself has responded to the Washington Journal allegations. He called the article “inaccurate and misleading,” accusing it of misrepresenting his leadership and the company.

“Anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me,” Kotick said.

He explained that there is now a zero-tolerance policy for “inappropriate behavior” and acknowledged that the company must embrace change to become a good workplace.

Blizzard’s board of directors released a statement standing behind Kotick. It stated that the company is “implementing industry-leading changes” under Kotick’s leadership. The board “remains confident” that Kotick can appropriately address the workplace issues.

This response from Kotick and Blizzard’s board led to the walkout. According to employees, there were over 150 people in the walkout and 90 more that participated virtually. The gaming community at large offered their support to Blizzard employees, asking how they can further help them during this time.

Neither Bobby Kotick nor the board have addressed the walkout by the company’s employees.

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