Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was at the receiving end of immense backlash by the public after an article was published in the Wall Street Journal, which implicated Kotick in prior incidents of harassment and abusive behaviour.
In a response to Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment leaders, Kotick reportedly said he would consider resigning if the company could not fix the toxic work culture "with speed."
Bobby Kotick to resign if culture problems not fixed quickly
According to the WSJ, senior leaders and management also addressed Kotick's position as CEO during a recent company meeting. Some employees reportedly said they would not "be satisfied" until he handed in his resignation.
Given Kotick's reportedly historical abusive behaviour, an inquiry into whether the company's new "zero-tolerance policy" would apply to Kotick was put forward by some attendees at the meeting, who also went as far as to ask Kotick if he would step down directly.
Despite this, sources revealed that Activision Blizzard's board of directors were "confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment and ability" to appropriate the company's "workplace excellent committee," which is aimed to facilitate the company's toxic work culture.
The company also reportedly had no plans to investigate Kotick's own alleged abusive behaviour.
Critics press Kotick to resign as CEO of Activision Blizzard
Before the publication of the WSJ article, Kotick was already embroiled with criticism by Activision Blizzard employees, investors and business partners over the company's handling of the sexual misconduct allegations.
Other critics were more abrasive in branding Kotick as part of the problem. "The fixing starts when you leave, Bobby," said senior VGC reporter Tom Henderson on Twitter.
Bobby Kotick has said he will "consider leaving the company if he can't quickly fix the culture problems".— Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) November 22, 2021
The fixing starts when you leave, Bobby. $ATVIpic.twitter.com/zcqjxqfV5j
In a Bloomberg article, the Head of Xbox at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, said that they would be evaluating all aspects of its relationship with Activision Blizzard and would be"making ongoing proactive adjustments."
PlayStation's CEO Jim Ryan reciprocated this, saying, "We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation."
Given this, the message is clear: Activision Blizzard does not recognise the inherent problem of Kotick's continued employment, much rather his position as a leader at the company. This, in my opinion, negates any semblance of an attempt toward social equity or responsiveness at the company.
Don't forget to check out our dedicated Video Games section for the latest news, updates, esports coverage, guides, leaks and more.
Featured image courtesy of Activision Blizzard.