Earlier today, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick claimed in an interview that the company has never had a systemic issue with harassment, claiming that the board of directors would never allow him to continue running things if that were the case. Well, best get packing your things Bobby, as investigators looking into cases of harassment, discrimination, and retalitation have substantiated 29 reports out of a whopping 114 that were made last year, some of which involved more than one employee.
According to a transparency report (thanks Axios), Activision Blizzard had to take over three dozen corrective actions as a result of these 29 incidents. These actions included the termination of employees for offenses such as discriminatory language, physical assault, misgendering, unwanted advances, retaliation and non-consensual touching. There's no information on whether the culprits behind these all of these confirmed incidents were fired, though we can probably assume as much.
Speaking on the report, Activision Blizzard's board of directors states that "Even one instance of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation is one too many" and that the company has "robust procedures in place" to deal with any issues. It also suggests that the reason for the high number of reports and confirmed incidents is due to improved support for those affected, calling the uptick a "sign of a healthy reporting culture and effective training" and proof more people are willing to come forward now.
While Bobby Kotick remains adamant that systemic harassment isn't an issue at Activision Blizzard, the company's own transparency report says otherwise. Even without taking into account the reports that haven't been substantiated, 29 confirmed counts of harassment, discrimination, and retalitation in a single year is massive, and speaks volumes about the kind of workplace culture that Activision Blizzard has cultivated for so many years.
And even then, Activision Blizzard was pretty much forced into sharing this transparency report by stockholders. The company's board of directors actively encouraged stockholders not to vote for an optional harassment report, a plea that they went ahead and ignored. Now we have the official figures for the amount of incidents there were at Activision Blizzard last year, it's easy to see why they might not have been keen to release one.
Still, at least this report also proves that Activision Blizzard is actually doing something about these incidents, though it sounds like far more work needs to be done to make the company a safe place for everyone to work.