Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, in a letter to investors and employees, called the company’s response to a sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit “tone deaf.”
“This has been a difficult and upsetting week,” Kotick’s letter began. “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.”
He said that Activision Blizzard was using 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 review will begin immediately, he added.
Kotick concluded the letter by saying, “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.”
The lawsuit, which was filed last week by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), claims Activision Blizzard was “akin to working in a frat house.” The alleged sexual harassment included inappropriate comments about women’s bodies, rape jokes and unsolicited touching of female employees.
The DFEH — which says it investigated Activision Blizzard for two years prior to filing its lawsuit — said the company’s female employees “almost universally confirmed” the claims.