After devastating report this week.
More than 1300 employees from Activision Blizzard have now signed a petition calling for Bobby Kotick to resign, following this week’s bombshell report into what the company CEO knew of harassment in the company – and what he allegedly failed to fully act upon.
The document’s text states employees “no longer have confidence in the leadership of Bobby Kotick”, and asks that the CEO remove himself from his position. It also asks shareholders to elect a new CEO without Kotick’s input – despite the CEO owning a large share of shareholder voting rights.
But while more than 1000 Activision employees have publicly put their name, role and division on the petition, many more have not.
“Ultimately people fear being fired or blacklisted from the industry,” industry analyst Daniel Ahmad wrote on Twitter today. “It’s the material impact from a strike, investor / board action or losing the ability to sell products that result in actual change.
“The shareholders that have called for [Kotick] to step down only have a less than one percent stake. The majority of investors are silent. Sony / MS have made statements but products are still sold through those platforms.”
This week, Activision Blizzard execs told staff they did not “have evidence” of Kotick’s own alleged harassment of employees (such as the time he is claimed to have threatened to kill a staff member) as these occurred over a decade ago. Therefore, the company’s recently-instated zero-tolerance policy to harassment could not apply.
But there’s pressure on Kotick elsewhere, too. Jim Ryan, boss of PlayStation, reportedly expressed “deep concern” to Sony staff over this week’s Activision Blizzard allegations. “We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation,” Ryan wrote in an unprecedented email. Last night, Xbox’s Phil Spencer told Microsoft employees he was “evaluating all aspects” of its relationship with Activision Blizzard.
A small group of Activision Blizzard shareholders have also asked for Kotick’s removal – a sentiment expressed by some of the 150 staff members who organised a walkout earlier this week.