According to internal records acquired by the Wall Street Journal, 37 Activision Blizzard workers have “exited” the firm since July of last year as part of the company’s attempt to address sexual harassment concerns (WSJ). Helaine Klasky, an Activision Blizzard spokesman, also told the WSJ that 44 people had been penalized as a result of workplace misbehavior charges.
These figures are likely to include the more than 20 employees that left the firm in October, as well as the approximately 20 employees who were punished at the time. According to the WSJ, Activision Blizzard received about 700 employee complaints outlining workplace wrongdoing. According to the Wall Street Journal, Activision Blizzard was planning to release a report summarizing the findings of its ongoing investigation towards the end of last year, but CEO Bobby Kotick refused, claiming that doing so would exaggerate the company’s problems and make them appear worse than they are.
“Our staff is working relentlessly throughout Activision Blizzard to ensure that every employee feels safe, equal, heard, and empowered,” Activision Blizzard spokesperson Rich George told The Verge. “Every report that the firm receives matters, whether it’s a comment on culture, an incident, or proposed changes, and we’ve greatly boosted the resources available to guarantee that we can promptly and completely look into each one.” Since July, the business has completed evaluations of over 90% of employee reports, according to George, who calls Kotick’s apparent unwillingness to provide this information “inaccurate.”
Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in July for encouraging a “culture of continual sexual harassment.” Since then, a number of colleagues have come forward to share their own stories of sexual harassment at work, stating that management was aware of and maybe encouraged the behavior. In September, the firm and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed a $18 million settlement, but the DFEH has just challenged a judge’s order barring it from participating.
In November, Kotick was directly accused of abusive conduct, but the company’s board of directors nevertheless expressed confidence in his leadership. Over 1,500 employees signed a petition to oust Kotick as CEO, who only stated that he would consider stepping down if the company’s terrible work culture could not be changed “quickly.”