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Facing an employee walkout, Activision Blizzard CEO says his company’s response to lawsuit was ‘tone deaf’

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“All voices are important, and we’ll hear better now and in the future,” Kotick said in a note to employees on Tuesday. “I’m sorry we didn’t provide the right empathy and understanding.”

Kotick’s response comes as hundreds of employees prepare to go out on Wednesday to pressure the company to do more to address a number of issues, such as wage inequality, gender discrimination and harassment.

These problems began to open up last week, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit accusing Activision Blizzard, the company behind popular video games like “Call of Duty,” “World of of Warcraft “and” Candy Crush “- to foster a” frat boy “work culture where employed women must” continually advocate for unwanted sexual comments and advances from their co-workers. “

The complaint also alleges that “the company’s executives and human resources staff knew of the harassment and did not take reasonable steps to prevent illegal conduct and retaliated against the women who complained.”

The company’s director of corporate communications, Kelvin Liu, described the state’s presentation and investigation in a statement to CNN Business after the lawsuit as “inaccurate” and “distorted”.

There are several former employees detailed theirs experiences a Activision Blizzard (ATVI) turned on social media since the lawsuit was filed, and more than 2,000 current and former employees signed a petition on Monday criticizing the company’s first action against the lawsuit’s claims as “unpleasant and insulting.”
The petition also cited an internal statement from Frances Townsend, a former George W. Bush administration counterterrorism official and executive vice president of Activision Blizzard Affairs, in which as described the lawsuits of the lawsuit as “really wrong, old and out of context.”

Wednesday’s day aims to “improve the conditions of the company’s employees, especially women and, in particular, women of color and transgender, non-binary people and other marginalized groups,” according to a document shared with CNN Business. His leadership requirements include the end of mandatory arbitration clauses in all employee contracts, the change of hiring and promotion policies to improve representation in the company, and the publication of compensation data.

Contest entrants also ask the company leadership to hire a third party to audit the reporting structure, human resources department and Activision Blizzard executive staff. “It is imperative to identify how current systems have failed to prevent employee harassment and propose new solutions to address these issues,” the document said.

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In his note to employees, Kotick announced that he had hired the WilmerHale law firm to review the company’s policies “to ensure we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace.” He urged employees to contact the law firm team led by Stephanie Avakian, the company’s former director U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Division.

“Of course, no retaliation will be tolerated,” Kotick said. He also said the company would do more to support its workers, creating “safe, moderated spaces for third parties,” so employees can share their problems.

“We are immediately evaluating executives and leaders across the company,” he said. “Anyone who has obstructed the integrity of our processes to assess claims and impose appropriate consequences will be terminated.”

More than 100 Activision Blizzard employees are expected to personally attend Wednesday’s outing at the company’s offices in Irvine, California, a Blizzard employee told CNN Business, while they are expected to participate virtually. more than 1,000 people.

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