The Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 earnings call took place today and in it, CEO Bobby Kotick made a statement that touched on the culture of the company. Kotick’s statement covers the topic of handling discrimination, the practices that are in place, an introduction of new leaders, as well as how the company plans to move forward.
Bobby Kotick’s statement starts at the 26m45s mark in the Shacknews Twitch video embedded above, though you can read the transcript below.
“Thank you Chris, and thank you all for joining us today. I want to start by making clear to everyone that there is no place at our company where discrimination, harassment or unequal treatment of any kind will be tolerated – nowhere.
We so appreciate the current and former employees who have come forward in past and recent days with courage and I want to reiterate the commitments we’ve made to you.
Our work environment, everywhere we operate, will not permit discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment. We will be the company that sets the example for this in our industry.
While we've taken many steps toward this objective already, today we are taking even more. Jennifer Oneal and Mike Ybarra have been named the new co-leads of Blizzard. Jen has been with the company for 18 years, she's the former head of our studio, Vicarious Visions, and most recently Head Production and Development Oversight for our Diablo and Overwatch franchises. Mike has been in our industry for over 20 years including in leadership roles within Microsoft Xbox division and at Blizzard as General Manager of Battle.net.
I'm also pleased to have Allen Adham here today. As most of you know, Allen is one of the founders of Blizzard. After a 12 year hiatus, Allen returned to Blizzard to lead our new product and new IP incubation efforts.
Each of these individuals brings vast industry experience and tremendous integrity to their roles. They are the very best examples of leadership with character and accountability. I'm confident this team will ensure that Blizzard provides the welcoming, comfortable, and safe workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.
In addition, we’ll continue to investigate each and every claim and complaint that we receive. When we learn of shortcomings, we will take decisive action and to strengthen our capabilities in this area we’ll be adding additional staff and resources. People will be held accountable for their actions. That commitment means that we will not just terminate employees where appropriate but will also terminate any manager or leader found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences.
Because our work cannot be successful without diverse voices, views, and talents, we made a commitment to consider diverse slates of candidates for all open positions and will continue to add resources to ensure this occurs throughout the company.
Over the past several years we've made significant changes to address company culture, reflect more diversity within our leadership teams, and create environments conducive to reporting any type of misconduct. We've amplified internal programs that encourage employees to report violations. We've reinforced channels for employees to voice concerns in confidential and safe ways without any fear of retaliation. We’re directing additional resources to our compliance and employee relations teams dedicated to investigating complaints.
We pride ourselves on paying our employees competitively and fairly for equal or substantially similar work. We regularly review our compensation to ensure that we remain equitable in our approach. We take a variety of proactive steps to ensure that pay is driven by non-discriminatory factors such as performance, role, and expertise. And we conduct extensive anti-discrimination trainings including for all employees involved in the compensation process. Our workplace initiatives are crucial to our continued success and our leadership in this effort is my priority.
Our workplace safety also remains our priority and as we consider our return to work initiatives we remain focused on providing the very best healthcare for our employees and their families.
You have my unwavering commitment that we will continue to focus on serving our players and delivering the sustainable growth that you’ve come to expect and we will take all necessary actions to foster a culture that is supportive and welcoming for all of our employees. And we expect to be the very best example for other companies to emulate.”
Kotick then handed it off to President and COO Daniel Alegre, “Daniel will now review the highlights of our operations for the past quarter with you.” Daniel went on to reaffirm Kotick’s statement:
“Thank you, Bobby. I’d like to underscore the point that Bobby made regarding the company’s commitment to ensuring the very best work environment. The leadership team and I will do our utmost to make sure that we’re always improving and building the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to enable creativity and professional growth for all employees. There will be no tolerance at our company for harassment or unequal treatment of any kind.”
Outside of what he said during the call, there is also a quote from Bobby Kotick included in the full release of the Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 financial results, linked here. The quote is as follows.
“With respect to our financial performance, we are pleased that the company continued to deliver strong results in the second quarter, and we are raising our outlook for the year,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. “We remain intensely focused on the well-being of our employees and we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that our company has a welcoming, supportive and safe environment where all of our team members can thrive.”
A whole lot of news has broken over the previous week regarding Activision Blizzard. It started with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing filing a lawsuit against the company which highlighted sexual harassment, unequal pay, and "frat boy" culture. Kotick then addressed the harassment lawsuit, though the employees stated during their walkout that they “will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.” The employees have also rejected the union-busting WilmerHale firm that Kotick mentioned in his statement.
Be sure to keep it locked to Shacknews as we bring you the latest on what’s happening with Activision Blizzard.
Sam Chandler posted a new article, Read Bobby Kotick's full statement from the Activision Blizzard Q2 2021 earnings call
I wonder how much the crisis management agency charged to vet that for a determined yet conciliatory tone.
Also lawyers got their share too
nah, that was written from start by lawyers. Bobby just blessed it
Yeah, no thanks. You know that scene in the fan Robocop remake where "primary rapist" shows up?
That's how I'm considering their management. There is no way they didn't know this was a problem. If they didn't take care of it they are part of that problem.
He's got to go. And so does everyone else at the top.