In an interview with Variety, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has stated that the company has never had a “systemic issue with harassment”. Kotick is making these statements in response to a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard by the State of California from 2021. Kotick is instead blaming the lawsuit on a “very aggressive labour movement”.
“We’ve had every possible form of investigation done. And we did not have a systemic issue with harassment – ever. We didn’t have any of what were mischaracterisations reported in the media,” said Kotick. “But what we did have was a very aggressive labour movement working hard to try and destabilise the company.”
Kotick goes on in the interview to insist that he is not anti-union, calling himself the only Fortune 500 CEO who is a member of a union; Kotick is a member of the actor’s union in SAG-AFTRA.
“I am not like other CEOs that are anti-union,” said Kotick. “I’m the only Fortune 500 CEO who’s a member of a union. If we have employees who want a union to represent them, and they believe that that union is going to be able to provide them with opportunities and enhancements to their work experience, I’m all for it. I have a mother who was a teacher. I have no aversion to a union. What I do have an aversion to is a union that doesn’t play by the rules.”
Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing back in July 2021. The lawsuit alleged that the company was racially discriminating and sexually harassing its employees on a routine basis. As part of the lawsuit, several examples of sexual harassment and abusive behaviour were cited, including unequal treatment of women when it came to compensation and supervision by superiors, as well as multiple cases of sexual harassment and abuse.
At the time, a company spokesperson stated that the lawsuit “includes distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” In 2022, the company reached a settlement for its lawsuits, with the settlement amount being valued at around $18 million.