That’s according to sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal, who claimed that the CEO made the comments during a meeting with executives on Friday, but stopped short of saying he would step down.
The Activision Blizzard boss is facing criticism following the publication of a separate Wall Street Journal report this month, which alleged that Kotick was aware of multiple sexual misconduct allegations at the company, and also accused him of personally mistreating several female employees.
As of Monday, nearly 1800 employees – or roughly 18% of the company – had signed an online petition calling for Kotick to step down from his position. That includes lead developers from King, Blizzard and Activision studios such as Sledgehammer and Infinity Ward.
As well as the internal petition, a public online petition is also being shared by employee group ABK Workers Alliance. At the time of writing, the petition has nearly 23,000 verified signatures.
According to the latest WSJ report, Kotick held meetings last week with senior leaders from Activision and Blizzard, in which he was told that some employees wouldn’t be satisfied unless he resigned.
Mr. Kotick reportedly said he was ashamed of some of the incidents that had happened on his watch and apologized for how he had handled the issues.
Activision Blizzard is currently facing multiple regulatory investigations over alleged sexual assaults and harassment of female employees, much of which has centred around World of Warcraft developer Blizzard.
However, an earlier Wall Street Journal report claimed that instances of sexual assault and mistreatment have been widespread at the company, including at Call of Duty development studios Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games.
While Kotick reportedly told company directors and other executives that he was unaware of many of the allegations, the WSJ said it had received evidence to the contrary from various sources including interviews with former employees and internal Activision documents.
Kotick has also been accused of mistreating several female employees, including leaving a voicemail in 2006 in which he threatened to have an assistant killed.
Despite the report, Activision Blizzard reportedly told employees it had no evidence to support the claims, meaning its newly launched zero-tolerance policy on harassment can’t be applied to the company’s leader.
Last week 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.”
This was followed by confirmation from Xbox boss Phil Spencer that he’s “evaluating” its relationship with Activision Blizzard following the company’s response to the allegations.