Activision Blizzard workers went on strike for the second time this year on Tuesday, demanding that the company replace its chief executive, Bobby Kotick, for reports that he had failed to report to the board allegations of sexual misconduct.
Employees have set up a Twitter account claiming to have created their own "Kazero Tolerance Policy," explaining that their exit is part of ongoing calls to review allegations of sexual harassment by a third party of their choice.
Activision Blizzard in a statement said it supported its employees' right to express their views and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of retaliation. "
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Kotick was allegedly aware of allegations of sexual harassment in one of the company's studios in 2018 and failed to inform the board. The newspaper cited anonymous sources with board information in its report, as well as invitations, emails and requests for control.
According to The Journal, Kotick was emailed in 2018 by a female lawyer at Sledgehammer Games who alleged that she was “raped in 2016 and 2017 by her male boss after being pressured to drink too much alcohol in the office and at work. events. ”
The employee informed the employees, but no action was taken, the Journal reported, referring to the content of the email. It is not yet clear whether the Journal received and reviewed the email or explained the source.
An out-of-court agreement was reached with the woman, who was not identified, months after Kotick was sent an email, but the board was unaware of it, sources close to the situation told The Journal.
NBC News did not confirm the allegations made in The Journal on Tuesday. The woman's lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, who allegedly sent an e-mail to Kotick, said on Tuesday he was not free to discuss the matter.
The company said it was "disappointed" in the report, calling it a "misleading view" of Activision Blizzard and Kotick.
"WSJ ignores significant ongoing changes to make the industry a more inclusive and inclusive workplace and fails to account for the efforts of thousands of hardworking employees every day to live up to their standards - and ours -," Activision Blizzard said in a statement on its website.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Annual Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 10, 2019. Drew Angerer / Getty Images File
“The constant desire to get better always keeps the company afloat. That is why, under the direction of Mr. Kotick, we have made significant progress, including a policy of zero tolerance for misconduct, "the statement said.
The company also sent a public text message video from Kotick to employees in response to a report on the Wall Street Journal. He told employees he had a "wrong opinion" about him and that the company would pursue a policy of zero tolerance for misconduct.
“Over the past few years our industry has had an uncomfortable appearance that has illuminated the opportunities for change. And we must all, including myself, embrace this need for change, so that we can bring our best lives to the best possible environment, ”said Kotick.
The board of Activision Blizzard issued a statement Tuesday saying its board "remains confident that Bobby Kotick has handled the workplace problems brought to his attention."
“Under the leadership of Bobby Kotick, the Company has already made significant changes in the industry including the intolerance policy, the commitment to achieving an increase in the percentage of women and binary options in our work and greater internal and external investment to accelerate diversity. talent, ”the statement said.
Workers made another move in July after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company.
The lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard has a "full of 'boys' culture where female employees are sexually harassed and paid and promoted under their male counterparts." A two-year investigation by a government agency found that female employees were routinely sexually abused, according to the institution's statement at the time.
Women make up about 20 percent of the company's 9,500 employees, according to lawsuits.
The case is being re-assigned to another court in Los Angeles County Supreme Court, with a case management conference scheduled for Dis. 9, according to court records.
Workers who came out in July, after a state trial, said they had four main requirements: the abolition of mandatory mediation conditions in workers' contracts; adopt policies to improve diversity, equity and inclusion; publish compensation data, promotions and salary categories for employees of all genders and races; and employs another person to inspect the company structure, human resources department and management.
Kotick apologized to the workers at the time and said he had asked law firm WilmerHale to review the company's policies and procedures to "ensure we have good practices and maintain good practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace." He encouraged employees to report any violations of their employment policy.
He also announced last month that the company had made changes to meet the demands of its employees. Activision Blizzard abolished compulsory mediation in cases involving sexual harassment and discrimination, and said it would increase the number of women and non-binary workers employed by 50 percent.