The day before an employee walkout proposal at Activision Blizzard, which at least part of the company is now actively promoting by offering paid time off, the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, sent everyone a letter. the employees – and investors, and the public – who are watching the company tackle allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
At last count, nearly a third of the company’s employees signed an open letter condemning Activision Blizzard’s initial response to the allegations, and Kotick’s letter responds head-on: “Our initial responses to the issues we are facing. faced together, and your concerns, were, quite frankly, deaf, ”he writes.
Kotick says that a law firm, WilmerHale, will immediately review company policies “to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace,” that Activision Blizzard “will continue to investigate every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action ”, that it will fire anyone“ who has interfered with the integrity of our claims assessment processes ”and that this will ensure that hiring managers consider various lists of candidates for open positions.
In addition, the company plans to change its games. “We have heard feedback from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content, ”Kotick writes. Blizzard announced earlier today that World of Warcraft would delete “references that do not suit our world”, without specifying any.
The whole situation is strongly reminiscent of Ubisoft, whose CEO Yves Guillemot also announced that the company would clean up after an insufficient response to the first allegations of sexual misconduct.
You can read the full letter below:
July 27, 2021
This week has been difficult and overwhelming.
I want to recognize and thank everyone who has come forward in the past and in recent days. I appreciate your courage so much. Every voice counts – and we’ll do a better job of listening now and in the future.
Our initial responses to the issues we face together and to your concerns have been, quite frankly, muted.
It is imperative that we recognize all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been abused in any way. I’m sorry we didn’t provide the right empathy and understanding.
Many of you have told us that active engagement comes from caring so deeply about the Company. The fact that so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care about our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. . Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my top priority. The management team heard you loud and clear.
We take quick action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is nowhere in our business for discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind.
We will do all we can to make sure that together we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential for fostering creativity and inspiration.
I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the WilmerHale management team and until recently was the Director of the Enforcement Division of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
We encourage anyone who you believe is violating our policies or making you uncomfortable in the workplace to use one of our many existing channels to report or contact Stephanie. She and her WilmerHale team will be available to speak to you on a confidential basis and can be reached at [email protected] or at 202-247-2725. Your communication will remain confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.
We are committed to lasting change. From now on, we will take the following actions:
Employee support. We will continue to investigate every complaint and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area, we are adding senior management and other resources to the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
Listening sessions. We know that many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will create secure spaces, run by third parties, so that you can express yourself and share areas for improvement.
Staff changes. We immediately assess the managers and leaders of the company. Anyone who interferes with the integrity of our processes for assessing claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.
Hiring practices. Earlier this year, I sent out an email asking all hiring managers to make sure they have diverse candidate lists for all open positions. We will add compliance resources to ensure our hiring managers are indeed adhering to this guideline.
In-game changes. We have heard feedback from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing this content.
Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resources to ensure that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable and safe culture possible.
You have my unwavering commitment to improving our business together and becoming the most inspiring and inclusive entertainment company in the world.