New Report Says Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Covered Up Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Update: Following publication, one group of Activision Blizzard shareholders - the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group - has now officially called for Bobby Kotick's resignation. Furthermore, they've also seeking retirement for the board’s longest serving directors, Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado, by December 31.

Following months of lawsuits and internal strife at Activision Blizzard, a new report from the Wall Street Journal says Bobby Kotick was aware of the original harassment charges after the incidents happened and took no action to resolve the problems. In 2017, a female Activision Blizzard employee said Dan Bunting, co-head of Treyarch Studios, raped her during a company function. Activision's HR department moved to fire Bunting, but Kotick personally intervened to keep him on staff.

In 2018, another employee said her supervisor at Sledgehammer raped her twice, once in 2016 and once in 2017, after she was pressured into drinking too much during company events. The WSJ report says Activision reached an out-of-court settlement with the employee, though Kotick never revealed the incident to the board of directors.

Advertisement

New Report Says Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Covered Up Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Jenn Oneal became co-head of Blizzard in August, but resigned soon after. The Wall Street Journal report said Oneal sent an internal email criticizing the company both for the harassment she endured in her career and its inaction in prioritizing employee wellbeing.

Since the initial lawsuit in July, Activision Blizzard has adopted a number of sometimes conflicting positions on the allegations. While reportedly pushing for better diversity and harassment policies, Activision Blizzard also reportedly engaged in anti-labor practices, including intimidation and unlawful surveillance, and it also hired WilmerHale to lead internal investigations. The law firm developed a reputation for its pro-management and anti-labor practices.

Investors sued Activision and Kotick in particular for failing to notify them of any potential threat to the company's profits. While the recently-formed ABK Workers Alliance walked out in protest of the WSJ report, calling for Kotick's removal, Kotick issued a video statement obtained by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier claiming the report was false.

The Activision Blizzard board of directors affirmed its support for Kotick, and both it and Kotick said the company's recent push for pay transparency and better policies proves the are taking proper steps to rectify the problems.