PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has reportedly penned an email to company employees criticising Bobby Kotick’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment at Activision Blizzard, saying he has contacted Activision to express “deep concern” at recent news.
According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, Ryan shared the email earlier today following the recent report by the Wall Street Journal which claimed Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had known about alleged instances of sexual assault and harassment within his company for years, but had failed to fully act upon them.
In the email, seen by Bloomberg, Ryan is said to have linked to the Wall Street Journal’s report, telling PlayStation staff that both he and his leadership were “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” that Activision “has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment.”
Bloomberg says Ryan informed employees that PlayStation had reached out to Activision “immediately after the article was published” in order to “express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article… We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”
Activision immediately went on the defensive in response to the Wall Street Journal’s report, calling it “a misleading view of [the company] and our CEO”, and insisting the article “ignores important changes underway to make this the industry’s most welcoming and inclusive workplace”. In a separate statement, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors rallied around Kotick, saying it “remains confident” in the CEO’s “leadership, commitment and ability”.
Condemnation of Bobby Kotick’s alleged inaction and Activision’s subsequent response to the Wall Street Journal report has been swift and widespread.
The ABK Workers Alliance – which has been campaigning for fairer working conditions at the company following a State of California’s lawsuit describing Activision as “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women” – called for Bobby Kotick to be replaced as CEO. Additionally, 150 Activision employees staged a walkout at the company’s California campus, while a smaller protest was held at Blizzard’s QA office in Minnesota, and still more joined in remotely, ceasing work elsewhere.