CEO Activision regrets lack of empathy in lawsuit statement

Bobby Kotick – CEO at Activision Blizzard – has personally come out with a statement regarding the pending lawsuit. Through a lengthy letter, Kotick tries to soothe the wound that has been caused by his company. Not only is Activision Blizzard being scrutinized for alleged institutional sexual misconduct, but the way the publisher handled those allegations didn’t really help either. The first response of Activision came down to a downright denial of it all, claiming that these allegations were “taken out of context” and “old”. But after tons of backlash and a petition signed by almost a thousand (ex-)employees, Activision’s CEO steps up to the plate.

Kotick begins by stating the obvious, saying that it’s been a rough week for him. No shit, man! So far, nothing special. But after this very first sentence, Bobby proves he’s had humble pie for breakfast. Readers won’t have to wait long for an apology, because Kotick isn’t wasting any time on beating around the bush. In fact, he straight-up admits that there was one thing that he hasn’t been doing a lot of, which is listening. He also expresses his appreciation for the courage it took to come forward, hoping things will never have to come this far again.

I’ll post his letter in its entirety. Better clear your schedule though, because it’s quite a read:

July 27, 2021

This has been a difficult and upsetting week.

I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.

It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions, and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my highest priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.

We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels for reporting or to reach out to Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at ATVI@wilmerhale.com or 202-247-2725. Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to long-lasting change. Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions:

  1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
  2. Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.
  3. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.
  4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.
  5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.

Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world.

Yours sincerely,


There you have it. Bobby Kotick openly apologizes for not lending that needed ear when people depended on his leadership. To put his money where his mouth is, he even claims to have a legal team look at the allegations and fire anyone who can be proven guilty of them.

But things won’t end there, according to Kotick. Effective immediately, changes will not only be made within the company but even in-game. Inappropriate content in games is going to be removed, showing that even complaints from the community have been heard. Goddamn, Bobby! No half measures.

Of course, this is all amazing news and everyone should be thrilled with this outcome. Activision Blizzard admits being wrong about things and promises to do literally everything to redeem itself. And a big part of me is really happy with this development. There’s just this very tiny part in me that fears that this might be a hollow statement. Like the one I’ve heard from Yves Guillemot not so long ago. And look what Ubisoft is facing once more.

But hey, let’s look on the bright side. At least now people won’t have to go on strike anymore. Or even better, the state of California can drop the lawsuit altogether. Hmmm… let us wait and see first. The ball is in your court, Bobby.