Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick sent an email to his entire staff to respond to the threat of an employee walkout e apologized for the company’s recent actions as “tone deaf.”
Employees were to walkout on Wednesday to protest the company’s responses regarding a recent sexual discrimination lawsuit. They were requesting fair treatment for underrepresented staff.
In Kotick’s message, the law firm Wilmer Hale will conduct a review of its policies and promised “swift action” to ensure a “safe environment” and to stamp out harassment.” Kotick said the company will be taking steps including personnel changes, encouraging diversity in hiring and removing inappropriate in-game content.
Last week was when the issues surfaced as the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the publisher behind games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft that were presenting incidents of sexual harassment and assault within the company where women faced unequal pay and retaliation. Activision said in a statement last week, the accusations were false and distorted . Fran Townsend, EVP for corporate affairs, sent a letter to staff of the claim.
Disturbed by this, Activision employees spoke out on social media, and more than 2,000 employees signed an open letter calling the company’s responses “abhorrent and insulting.” A strike has been planned as a walkout, at the subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment, where most of the lawsuit’s allegations were focused.
The strike is set to be outside of Blizzard’s campus in Irvine, California, on Wednesday
Employees want Activision to remove mandatory arbitration clauses “in all employee contracts, current and future.” New practices for recruiting, interviewing, hiring and promotion that facilitate better representation “agreed upon by employees in a company-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion organization.” The publication of data on relative compensation, promotion rates and salary ranges for employees “of all genders and ethnicities at the company.”
Employees are asking for a diversity task force hire a third party to audit the company’s leadership, hierarchy, and HR department. “It is imperative to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment, and to propose fresh solutions to address these issues.”
Image Bobby Kotick