Video Game Giant Activision Blizzard Fires Several Employees For Workplace Misconduct

Video Game Giant Activision Blizzard Fires Several Employees For Workplace Misconduct
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Activision Blizzard Inc has fired almost 40 staff members and disciplined more than 40 others following widespread allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct.

The Wall Street Journal reported the video game giant – responsible for such titles as Call of Duty, StarCraft and World of Warcraft – had received over 700 complaints in the past seven months of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct, with some individual incidents receiving multiple reports.

Activision Blizzard were planning to release a summary of these personnel actions – 90 per cent of which it has so far reviewed – before the northern hemisphere winter holidays.

However, company CEO, Bobby Kotick (featured image), reportedly delayed its release, arguing it could make Activision Blizzard’s issues seem worse than is already known.

The company has since denied these reports, labelling them as “simply inaccurate”.

“An interim update to our employees is still being worked on, and the company remains committed to continuing to provide periodic updates on its progress,” Activision Blizzard said in a recent statement.

The company also said that since July, “37 employees have exited the company and another 44 received written reprimands, formal warnings or other discipline.”

This follows a Wall Street Journal report published last November, which accused Kotick of withholding from the board numerous sexual misconduct accusations made against several company managers.

Prior to this, in September last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation into the company over, “disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues.”

Recently, Activision Blizzard has been on the receiving end of numerous lawsuits, with one filed in July last year accusing the video game giant of promoting a “frat boy workplace culture” where women are “subject to numerous sexual comments and advanced, groping and unwanted physical touching, and other forms of harassment”.

Over 1300 Activision Blizzard employees have since signed a petition calling for Kotick’s resignation, with the document saying workers “no longer had confidence” in Kotick’s leadership at the company.

However, Activision spokeswoman, Helaine Klasky, told WSJ the board’s support of Kotick was “unchanged”, and that it was “pleased with the commitment and leadership” he had so far demonstrated.

Last December, Activision Blizzard COO, Daniel Alegre, announced in a staff letter the company’s plans to increase its number of female and non-binary employees by 50 per cent in the next five years.

He also announced the company’s commitment to being a more transparent workplace, citing the “need to share more information openly as a company”.

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