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Activision fired dozens over harassment allegations: WSJ

Video game giant Activision Blizzard has fired nearly 40 employees and disciplined about 40 others since July.

Activision Blizzard workers call for CEO departure
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, has defended his handling of harassment complaints, as some employees staged a walkout calling for him to go - Copyright AFP Daniel ROLAND
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, has defended his handling of harassment complaints, as some employees staged a walkout calling for him to go - Copyright AFP Daniel ROLAND

The video game giant Activision Blizzard has fired nearly 40 employees and disciplined about 40 others since July as it deals with allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct, The Wall Street Journal said Monday.

The newspaper, which quoted people familiar with the situation, said that over the past seven months the company has also received about 700 reports of employee concerns over sexual assault or harassment or other misconduct, in some cases separate reports about the same incident.

A summary of the personnel action that the maker of “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and other blockbuster games has taken was scheduled to be released before the winter holidays, the Journal said.

But CEO Bobby Kotick delayed the release, arguing that it would make the company’s workplace problems look even bigger than they were known to be, the paper added.

Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

In July, California state regulators accused the company of condoning a culture of harassment, a toxic work environment, and inequality.

In September the Securities and Exchange Commission launched a probe into the company over “disclosures regarding employment matters and related issues.”

And two months later the Journal reported that Kotick, accused of mishandling the harassment complaints, has signaled he would consider stepping down if he failed to quicky fix the company culture. He has led the company for more than three decades.

Nearly 20 percent of Activision Blizzard’s 9,500 employees have signed a petition calling for Kotick to resign.

The Journal said the company is under pressure from shareholders and business partners for more accountability over its handling of misconduct issues.

Late last year chief operating officer Daniel Alegre pledged a 50 percent increase in female and non-binary staff over the next five years so that they will account for more than a third of Activision’s workers.

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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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