The developer has been underneath intense scrutiny over the previous yr for harboring a tradition of flagrant sexual harassment and sexism. The California Division of Truthful Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit in opposition to Activision final July, saying the corporate had been complicit in rampant “frat boy” conduct and had thus violated the state’s civil rights and equal pay legal guidelines. Activision govt Fran Townsend instantly responded with a company-wide electronic mail deflecting duty for the lawsuit. This prompted 2,000-plus staff to signal a petition in opposition to the corporate’s “abhorrent and insulting” response.
Since then, executives have made unfastened guarantees to make the corporate a safer and fairer place to work. CEO Bobby Kotick said shortly after the lawsuit’s initiation that he’d be hiring a third-party legislation agency to conduct an impartial evaluation of the corporate’s insurance policies. In apply, this didn’t go over effectively: Kotick selected to work with the union-busting firm WilmerHale, leading to worker pushback. (It’s unclear whether or not the evaluation ever occurred after this.) Now Activision has determined to conduct its personal evaluation…of itself. And unsurprisingly, the corporate issued itself a transparent invoice of well being.
“What now we have come to comprehend over the previous a number of months is that there are numerous truths about our firm—particular person and collective, experiential and data-driven—and typically they are often troublesome to reconcile… Certainly, a single occasion of somebody feeling diminished at Activision Blizzard is one too many,” a brand new Securities and Change Fee (SEC) filing reads. Whereas there have been “some substantiated cases of gender harassment,” Activision has discovered no proof that “senior management or the Board have been conscious of and tolerated gender harassment or that there was ever a systemic subject with harassment, discrimination or retaliation.” The submitting additionally says that, opposite to worker allegations, “the Board and its exterior advisors have decided that there isn’t a proof to recommend that Activision Blizzard senior executives ever deliberately ignored or tried to downplay the cases of gender harassment that occurred and have been reported.”
An inside evaluation carried out by the group being reviewed is greatest taken with a grain of salt. (Authorities entities and legislation enforcement companies commonly discover themselves freed from internal battle after conducting opinions of themselves, as an illustration.) One wonders what the findings of such a evaluation can be if it had been carried out by a 3rd celebration.
To its credit score, Activision says it has carried out a brand new company-wide zero-tolerance harassment coverage. It’s additionally allegedly tripled its funding in anti-harassment and anti-discrimination coaching sources, in addition to expanded its Ethics & Compliance staff. Whether or not the corporate truly enforces its shiny new coverage and makes use of its expanded sources, nevertheless, will likely be revealed over time.