A new batch of explosive allegations and stories has been reported by the Wall Street Journal today workplace abuses, coverups, and harassment at Activision Blizzard from CEO Bobby Kotick. In response, the ABK Workers Alliance has announced employees will be staging a walkout in response.
The allegations and shared stories from the WSJ report range from harassment, to keeping quiet on alleged rape allegations, to even Kotick allegedly threatening to have an assistant killed after she complained about his harassment against her.
While some of the alleged incidents occurred in the last few years, emails and accounts from employees to the WSJ show rampant problems dating back to the mid-2000s.
Activision Blizzard's efforts to make a more inclusive, welcoming, and fair company seems to be at odds with some of their actions, per some accounts in this report. For example, when Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack resigned back in August, he was replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as "co-leads" of the company. According to an email the WSJ received, Oneal alleges that she was paid less than her male counterpart Ybarra for the same job. In that same email, Oneal stated, "I have been tokenized, marginalized, and discriminated against."
Oneal recently announced her resignation from the company on November 2nd.
Activision Blizzard has put out a public statement to the WSJ report, which they describe as presenting a "misleading view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO." Further, Bobby Kotick shared a statement reiterating his commitment to bettering the company, "anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me."
In response to the report, the ABK Workers Alliance is staging a walkout.
We have instituted our own Zero Tolerance Policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO, and continue to hold our original demand for Third-Party review by an employee-chosen source. We are staging a Walkout today. We welcome you to join us.— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) November 16, 2021
This is not the first time employees have walked out on the company in protest, doing so back in July. The demands from employees have changed little since that time, with the only new addition being the replacement of Bobby Kotick as CEO. So far, there is no indication that the demand will be met.
A story that has been developing since July, this is the newest chapter providing a glimpse into the dire work conditions and culture at one of gaming's biggest companies.