It's been a week since a Wall Street Journal report alleged that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick knew about workplace abuse that had been going on at the company for decades. A lot has surfaced in the days since, yet Kotick still stands as CEO. Here's a breakdown of everything that has happened so far.

November 16

First, the WSJ report itself. The report claims that Kotick not only knew about the frat boy workplace culture issues for years, but that he actively protected alleged abuser Dan Bunting, the Treyarch co-head. The report also revealed Kotick threatened to kill a female member of staff. No need for an 'allegedly' there as a voicemail exists proving this happened, and he doesn't deny it.

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The report also revealed Slack messages and Emails from former Blizzard co-leader, Jen Oneal, claiming she was paid less than her male co-leader, Mike Ybarra. She held the position for just three months and further claims she was only offered equal pay after tendering her resignation. She also claims she was "I have been tokenized, marginalized, and discriminated against."


The same day the WSJ report surfaced, 150 ABK employees staged a walkout and demanded Kotick be replaced as CEO. This was the second time staff walked out in protest, the first was in the summer after the initial lawsuit against ABK by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. A Better ABK issued a statement on Twitter highlighting their ongoing demand for a "Third-Party review by an employee-chosen source".

The ABK board of directors released a statement throwing their full support behind the CEO, claiming, "The Board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention." These are the board members who still support him.

November 17

The day after the report, an email send by PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan to employees was seen by Bloomberg. He reportedly criticised the company's actions. writing, "We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article," Ryan wrote. "We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation."

November 18

Details of an ABK internal call were uncovered by Game Developer, claiming the company's zero-tolerance policy would not apply to Kotick, as there was no evidence relating to the allegations brought up in the WSJ report.

November 19

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer told staff that he was "evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments," as initially reported by Bloomberg. Spencer also said that Activision Blizzard "has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment" and that "this type of behaviour has no place in our industry".

These comments were confirmed by Microsoft in a statement given to IGN.

It was also noticed on November 19 that Call of Duty: Vanguard was no longer listed on the PlayStation Store's featured page. Though this is not the same as completely delisting Activision Blizzard games from the digital storefront, it is a sign that PlayStation is making material, if minimal, changes to its working relationship with the company.

Girls Who Code cut ties with ABK the same day. The organisation has been partnered with the company since 2018, but said in a statement, "following recent revelations about allegations of assault, harassment, and a toxic work environment throughout the company, we have decided to end our partnership."

Finally, a worker petition to oust Kotick reached 1,500 signatures, and a public one hit over 13,000. You can see the employee petition here - at the time of writing it is at 1,803 signatures. "We ask that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders," it reads.

November 22

Paul Reiche, the former head of Activision Blizzard studio Toys for Bob hinted that Kotick should resign. "If the new stories I have read are true, I can't see how Activision can continue its success without new leadership", Reiche said in an interview. “How far down that goes depends on what we learn about the behavior of those leaders”.

The same day, Kotick apparently said he would consider stepping down if he was unable to fix the issues at the company. Considering he allegedly knew about the issues for years and did nothing, it is unlikely he will change anything.

Completing the trifecta of big console manufacturers, Nintendo of America head Doug Bowser had an email leaked. The leak was uncovered by Fanbyte, and later confirmed by Nintendo. “Along with all of you, I’ve been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company,” Bowser wrote. “I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo’s beliefs, values, and policies.” Both Xbox and Nintendo have confirmed the comments made by Spencer and Bowser.

And finally, at night on November 22, almost a week after the WSJ report, action has been taken. Activision Blizzard has created a committee made up of Activision Blizzard board members to ensure progress is happening at Activision Blizzard. The same board members that stand behind Kotick will now be reviewing reports from him, the chief people officer, and the chief compliance officer on the status of efforts to improve the company workplace culture.

The committee is made up of Dawn Ostroff and Reveta Bowers, the only women on the board. A statement from the board asserts "The Committee is empowered to retain outside consultants or advisers, including independent legal counsel, to assist in its work," but it seems like a last-ditch effort to avoid committing to actual change.

It's been a week since the WSJ report and Kotick is still in charge, but with the ABK stock price falling and mounting pressure from employees, the public, and industry leaders, how long does he have left?

Next: "Change Will Not Come From The Goodness Of CEO's Hearts", Unions Blast Abusive Conditions In The Gaming Industry

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