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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Comments On Harassment Allegations (Update: Employees Respond)

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has issued a public statement addressed to all employees concerning the harassment lawsuit against his company.

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The full statement is as follows:

Blizzard’s promise today to remove “inappropriate” content from World of Warcraft mirrors the steps mentioned in Kotick’s statement. While details were scarce, many assume this to mean in-game references to creative director Alex Afrasiabi, one of the men accused of harassment in the lawsuit, will be expunged from the game.

This comes amid a rapid series of events over the last week, that began July 21 when news broke that the state of California is suing Activision Blizzard for allowing an environment of harassment to fester in its ranks, largely targeting the massive company’s female staffers.

“Female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment,” the lawsuit reads, “including having to continually fend off unwanted sexual comments and advances by their male co-workers and supervisors and being groped at the ‘cube crawls’ and other company events. High-ranking executives and creators engaged in blatant sexual harassment without repercussions.”

Kotick’s message is in stark contrast to the public reaction Activision Blizzard exhibited in the early days of this controversy, during which a spokesperson referred to the lawsuit as irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats.” In private, Bush-era torture apologist and Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Frances F. Townsend issued an internal memo calling the suit “meritless.”

Meanwhile, Activision Blizzard employees are speaking out against what they regard as their employers’ inadequate and even offensive response to the lawsuit’s serious allegations. Over 2,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a letter condemning their company’s response to the allegations, while some are planning to take part in a walkout tomorrow, July 28.

Update (07/28/2021, 12:28 p.m. ET): The organizers of today’s Activision Blizzard employee walkout have responded to Kotick’s statement in an effort to highlight several key topics the executive failed to address. These include the end of forced arbitration and greater pay transparency.

The group’s full response follows below (emphasis theirs):

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