Since July of 2021, allegations of racism, sexism, and a "frat boy culture" have rocked Activision Blizzard. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, the video game publisher has since "fired or pushed out more than three dozen employees and disciplined about 40 others," in an attempt to bring about changes at the company. This information was apparently going to be released prior to the holiday season, but CEO Bobby Kotick "held it back, telling some people it could make the company's workplace problems seem bigger than is already known," according to sources for the WSJ.
When allegations regarding the company went public last July, Kotick released a letter to employees, outlining several ways that Activision Blizzard planned to do better, including employee support, listening sessions, hiring practices, in-game changes, and personnel changes. The reporting from the WSJ would seem to indicate that Activision Blizzard is trying to follow through on that last promise, but many current and former employees have similarly called for the resignation or removal of Kotick, for his alleged role in covering up problems at the company.
Sources also told the outlet that nearly 700 reports of misconduct have been made by employees since last July, with about 90% having been reviewed by the company since. Activision Blizzard apparently disputes this figure. If the WSJ's sources are correct, the personnel changes and reports paint a stunning picture of the scope of the problems at the company.
It remains to be seen whether the changes that have been made will help to improve the culture for employees, but the allegations have had a clear impact on Activision Blizzard's public perception. Earlier this month, LEGO announced an indefinite delay for a set based on Overwatch 2. The set was supposed to go on sale February 1st, but LEGO confirmed that the decision came as it is "currently reviewing our partnership with Activision Blizzard." Hopefully, these types of moves will put an increased pressure on Activision Blizzard to continue improving its working conditions.
Are you surprised by the number of employees that have been fired or pushed out? Do you think Activision Blizzard is doing enough? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!
[H/T: Video Games Chronicle]