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Activision Blizzard doubles down on Kotick defense in all-hands meeting

Activision Blizzard's leadership also said that it extended the upcoming Thanksgiving break after learning that the Wall Street Journal's article was incoming.

Activision Blizzard's continued defense of CEO Bobby Kotick extended to a livestreamed all-hands meeting in which leadership addressed pre-screened questions from staff, Game Developer has learned.

Sources speaking to Game Developer say that Activision Blizzard leadership continued to stand by Kotick in that internal call (which took place earlier this morning, and wasn't recorded), and tried to address employee concerns about yesterday's damning report (via the Wall Street Journal).

Members of the leadership team led the meeting itself, and read and responded to pre-screened questions submitted by employees. Though much of the meeting reiterated the company's defenses issued yesterday, employees learned two key revelations about how leadership has been managing the crisis. Multiple sources described the meeting to Game Developer, and confirmed the following points were made:

First, it was revealed that Activision Blizzard extended the company's Thanksgiving break to a full week after learning that the Wall Street Journal article would be published this week. This seems to indicate that Activision Blizzard was well aware of the Journal's investigation, and planned its defenses of Kotick and company leadership in advance.

Second, employees who asked about if Activision Blizzard's zero-tolerance policy would apply to Kotick himself, given his alleged past actions at the center of the WSJ report, were told that the company did not "have evidence" of claims against him, because they happened over a decade ago. 

It's not clear if this was meant to apply for Kotick's supposed defense of Treyarch co-founder Dan Bunting, whose removal was recommended by Activision Blizzard HR before Kotick allegedly intervened, or merely the allegations that he allegedly threatened to kill an assistant in a voice mail. 

From an outside perspective, it appears that Activision Blizzard leadership thinks it can weather this crisis by doubling down and insisting it has faith in Kotick. That perspective is not shared by many employees as made evident by yesterday's walkout, and now it appears to have drawn ire from leadership at other game companies like Sony.

We've reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment, and will update this with new details as they arrive.

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