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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick apologized for the company’s “deaf” response to allegations of sex discrimination at the large video game publisher.
In a statement to all employees, Kotick said he appreciated the courage of all employees who have filed their own complaints in the wake of the lawsuit brought by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
We will update this story as we see responses to the message arrive.
Here is the full text of Kotick’s letter.
This has been a difficult and disturbing week.
I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has come forward in the past and in the last few days. I really appreciate your courage. Every voice matters, and we’ll do a better job listening now and in the future.
Our initial responses to the issues we faced together and to your concerns were, frankly, muffled.
It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in some way. I am sorry that we have not provided adequate empathy and understanding.
Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply about the company. The fact that so many people have reached out and shared outstanding thoughts, suggestions and opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how they care about our communities of colleagues and players, and each other. Making sure we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my top priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.
We are taking swift action to be the compassionate and caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no room in any part of our Company for discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind.
We will do our best to ensure that together we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to fostering creativity and inspiration.
I have asked the WilmerHale Law Firm to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the WilmerHale management team and most recently was Director of the Compliance Division of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
We encourage anyone with an experience who they believe violated our policies or in any way made you feel uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels to report or communicate with Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you confidentially and can be reached at [email protected] or 202-247-2725. Its scope will be kept confidential. Of course, retaliation will NOT be tolerated.
We are committed to lasting change. Effective immediately, we will take the following actions:
1. Support for employees. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area, we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
2. Listening sessions. We know that many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will create safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.
3. Personnel changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders from across the company. Anyone who has impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing the appropriate consequences will be fired.
4. Hiring practices. Earlier this year, I sent an email requesting all hiring managers to make sure they have diverse candidate lists for all open positions. We will add compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers adhere to this directive.
5. Changes in the game. We have heard feedback from the player and employee communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.
Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resources to ensure our company has the most welcoming, comfortable and safe culture possible.
You have my unwavering commitment that together we will improve our business and be the most inspiring and inclusive entertainment company in the world.