Activision Blizzard has reportedly told employees it has no evidence to support recent claims made against CEO Bobby Kotick, meaning its newly launched zero-tolerance policy on harassment can’t be applied to the company’s leader.
On Tuesday, a Wall Street Journal report alleged that Kotick was aware of multiple sexual misconduct allegations at Activision Blizzard and was also guilty of personally mistreating several female employees.
It’s claimed Kotick knew about the alleged rape of a former Sledgehammer Games employee by a male supervisor in 2016 and 2017, a matter which he reportedly withheld from Activision’s board, and that Kotick personally blocked the termination of former Treyarch studio head Dan Bunting after the Call of Duty veteran was accused of sexual harassment in 2017.
Kotick was also accused of leaving a voicemail in 2006 in which he threatened to have an assistant killed.
According to Game Developer, Activision Blizzard held a livestreamed all-hands meeting on Wednesday in which the company’s leadership answered pre-screened questions submitted by employees following yesterday’s report.
One of the questions asked was whether Activision Blizzard’s recently introduced zero-tolerance policy on harassment would be applied to Kotick considering the WSJ accusations.
In response, employees were reportedly told that Activision Blizzard did not “have evidence” of the claims made against Kotick because they happened over 10 years ago.
Activision Blizzard, its CEO and its board have faced a barrage of criticism in response to Tuesday’s WSJ report, including renewed calls for Kotick’s resignation.
Earlier today, it was claimed that Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Jim Ryan told PlayStation employees he was “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” that Activision “has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment.”
“We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article,” he wrote in an email to staff (via Bloomberg). “We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”