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Activision board forms anti-harassment committee after backing alleged harasser Kotick

CEO Bobby Kotick, who has been accused of mistreating several women, will provide progress reports to the committee.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

November 23, 2021

2 Min Read

The Activision Blizzard board of directors, which only last week backed alleged harasser and company CEO Bobby Kotick, has established a 'Workplace Responsibility Committee' to combat harassment and discrimination.

Activision Blizzard is attempting to reform its workplace culture after a tsunami of misconduct allegations that indicate harassment and discrimination is endemic at the Call of Duty publisher.

Some of those allegations were leveled at long-serving chief exec Bobby Kotick, who is accused of mistreating several women inside and outside the workplace and enabling misconduct by protecting high-profile employees.

The Workplace Responsibility Committee has been formed to help the company remedy the situation, and according to a statement will "oversee [Activision Blizzard's] progress in successfully implementing its new policies, procedures, and commitments to improve workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination."

The Committee is being chaired by Dawn Ostroff, who's been an independent director since 2020. Reveta Bowers, an independent director since 2018, will also serve on the Committee.

Bobby Kotick, who in a scathing Wall Street Journal report was accused (among other things) of sending death threads to his assistant in 2006, will be on hand to provide frequent progress reports to the committee, which in turn will regularly brief the full board of directors.

"The Committee will require management to develop key performance indicators and/or other means to measure progress and ensure accountability," reads a press release.

"The Committee is empowered to retain outside consultants or advisers, including independent legal counsel, to assist in its work. The Activision Blizzard Board is committed to ensuring a healthy workplace in which all employees feel valued, safe, and respected."

The board added that while Activision Blizzard has made progress with regards to improving workplace culture, "it is clear that current circumstances demand increased board engagement."

Those "current circumstances" include an impromptu employee walkout held last week after the numerous allegations against Kotick and other staff were made public, and a worker-led petition calling for the immediate resignation of Kotick that has been signed by over 1800 Activision Blizzard staff at the time of writing.

Kotick, who described the Wall Street Journal report as "inaccurate," has reportedly told senior managers he would consider stepping aside if he's unable to fix Activision Blizzard's culture issues.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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