Activision Blizzard still haven’t addressed many of the glaring problems with their company culture, but now they’ve started a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” so they can hear more about it instead. The company’s board of directors have formed this committee to oversee new policies and procedures “to improve workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination”. And amidst calls for CEO Bobby Kotick to be removed, he’ll be one of the people in charge of bringing the committee progress reports.
The committee have been formed following a report from the Wall Street Journal that brought to light new claims of alleged harassment and misconduct by ActiBlizz staff, as well as disturbing allegations about Kotick himself. He allegedly threatened someone that he’d have them killed, stepped in to stop an alleged harasser from being fired, and more.
Activision Blizzard say the committee will be chaired by Dawn Ostroff, and Reveta Bowers will serve on it – both of whom are on the company’s board of directors. So, this committee is board members who’ve been briefed by the CEO reporting to more board members.
One of employee group ABetterABK’s demands was that the company bring in a third party “to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment”, and ActiBlizz mention that the committee “is empowered to retain outside consultants or advisers, including independent legal counsel, to assist in its work.” However, “empowered to” and “will” are very different sentiments.
The company also want to add a new “diverse director” to the board. Here’s hoping that person has a better time than Blizzard’s last diverse co-director Jen Oneal, who left just three months after taking the role, and was being paid less than her male counterpart.
Since Activision Blizzard first came under fire for an allegedly awful workplace culture this summer, they’ve implemented a number of changes like this, frequently reminding everyone that they are doing work to make things better, really. But what of Kotick? What of the hundreds of ActiBlizz employees that have walked out or signed a petition demanding his removal? Over 26,000 people have signed a public petition calling for the same. Despite all the allegations, he’s sticking around, and will be providing progress reports to this new committee.
During an earnings call in August, Kotick himself said: “People will be held accountable for their actions.” Yet, The Wall Street Journal report Kotick will consider leaving if the company don’t fix their problems “with speed” – of which he is a part. Activision Blizzard can make all the committees they want to save face, but it will only get them so far while Kotick remains.