Activision CEO Bobby Kotick sent a letter to employees following news that a strike is planned for tomorrow. The strike is the latest step employees are taking to improve working conditions after details of a lawsuit against California-based Activision Blizzard for reported gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace have been disclosed.
Game informer received a copy of Kotick’s letter to the company as a whole saying it had been “a difficult and troubling week”. The letter continues to condemn Activision Blizzard’s original response and agrees with the community that the message was “deaf” and that it is “imperative” that the teams come together and “acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who are in Abused in any way. “He added,” I am sorry we did not impart the right empathy and understanding. “
The letter goes on and says:
Many of you have told us that active contact cultivation results from such intensive care for the company. The fact that so many people turned to share thoughts, suggestions and opportunities for improvement is an impressive reflection of how much you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. Ensuring a safe and welcoming work environment is my top priority. The management team heard you loud and clear.
We’re taking quick action to be the compassionate, caring company you came for, ensuring a safe environment. There is no place in our company for discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind.
We will do everything we can to ensure that together we improve and build an inclusive workplace that is essential for fostering creativity and inspiration.
Kotick also describes an immediate action plan, with the first mandate to enlist the help of an outside law firm called WilmerHale. WilmerHale will review current policies within the company to “ensure that we have and maintain the best practices promoting a healthy and inclusive workplace”. Given the inflammatory and egregious nature of the present allegations, WilmerHale is likely to face a particularly challenging task.
The CEO also provides contact information for Stephanie Avakian, most recently known as director of the Division of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission. This contact information should be used for anyone who feels or has felt uncomfortable working at Activision Blizzard in connection with the ongoing investigation.
As for the upcoming court hearing, Kotick has listed the following actionable items in response to the above lawsuit:
- Employee support. We will continue to investigate every single claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. In order to strengthen our skills in this area, we are expanding both the compliance team and the employee relations team to include additional managers and other resources.
- Listening sessions. We know many of you have ideas for improving our culture. We will create safe rooms that are moderated by third parties so that you can express yourself and share potential for improvement.
- Personnel changes. We immediately evaluate managers and executives across the company. Anyone found to have compromised the integrity of our claims assessment and appropriate consequences processes will be discontinued.
- Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email asking all hiring managers to make sure they had different lists of candidates for each open position. We’ll be adding compliance resources to make sure our hiring managers actually adhere to this policy.
- Changes in the game. We have heard from staff and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing this content.
The message ends with a message of support and a desire to offer a “friendly, comfortable and safe” work culture. To learn more about the harassment lawsuit, please read our previous coverage here.