Activision Blizzard board backs CEO Kotick after damning report

Board members say they are confident "Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention" despite an extensive report claiming otherwise.

Activision Blizzard's board of directors is backing company CEO Bobby Kotick following a damning story in The Wall Street Journal.

According to that extensive report (via WSJ), Kotick enabled and covered up employee sexual misconduct, and reportedly harassed women himself, among other allegations.

"The Activision Blizzard board remains committed to the goal of making Activision Blizzard the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry," the board said in a statement following the report.

The statement is attributed to the wider Activision Blizzard board of directors, which includes directors Reveta Bowers, Robert Corti, Hendrik Hartong III,  Barry Meyer, Peter Nolan, Dawn Ostroff, and Casey Wasserman, along with chairman Brian Kelly, lead independent director Robert Morgado, and Kotick himself.

"Under Bobby Kotick's leadership the company is already implementing industry leading-changes including a zero tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent.

"The board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention."

Among some of the more disturbing details of the report is how Kotick allegedly harassed his own assistant and threatened to have her killed over voicemail; failing to report to the board an email from a former employee's lawyer who said her client had been raped by a coworker; and preventing the firing of a high-level employee who HR recommended be terminated amid accusations of sexual harassment of a coworker.

The report also documents emails from departing Blizzard co-head Jen Oneal sent to Activision Blizzard's legal department the month before announcing her departure detailing her own negative experiences and stating that "it was clear that the company would never prioritize our people the right way."

Kotick himself has released a transcript of his internal comments concerning the WSJ report, saying that it "paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of me personally, and my leadership". Those sentiments were echoed by Activision Blizzard's own statement to press, which argues the WSJ report "ignores important changes underway to make this the industry’s most welcoming and inclusive workplace".

Following WSJ's story, Activision Blizzard's stock took a noticeable dip, and, as of writing, currently sits 5.65 percent below the $70.55 it was at market open.

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