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Facing a "challenging time", Activision Blizzard announces formation of Workplace Responsibility Committee

The latest poorly-judged move from Activision Blizzard includes a press release pushed out in the dead of night that doesn't mention its 10,000+ employees.

Another day, another development in the messy, appalling saga that is Activision Blizzard's response to its ongoing sexual harrassment lawsuit.

Following reports that Bobby Kotick apparently discussed stepping down as Activision Blizzard boss, the company's board slipped out a press release at 10.30pm EST detailing the formation of a "Workplace Responsibility Committee".

The press release, written in dense HR-centric language, basically notes that this new committee will oversee Activision Blizzard’s progress in "successfully implementing its new policies, procedures, and commitments to improve workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination at the company". You can read about some of the proposed policies here, though it's worth noting that they won't necessarily apply to Kotick himself. Hm.

The new Workplace Responsibility Committee will consist of the only two women on Activision Blizzard's 10-person board of directors (a board which has stood behind Kotick as calls for his resignation mount up), though Activision notes "a new, diverse director" will soon be added to the board, too.

"The committee will require management to develop key performance indicators and/or other means to measure progress and ensure accountability," reads the press release. "The chief executive officer, Bobby Kotick, along with the chief people officer and chief compliance officer will provide frequent progress reports to the committee, which will regularly brief the full board. The committee is empowered to retain outside consultants or advisers, including independent legal counsel, to assist in its work."

So, basically, the committee can get advice from outside sources and lawyer up, but there's no reference at all to how it can (or should) interact with the actual workforce. You know, the people making all these complaints and the reason state and federal agencies are investigating the company.

"Formation of the committee and additional future changes will help facilitate additional direct oversight and transparency and ensure that the company’s commitments to Activision Blizzard’s workforce are carried out with urgency and impact," the press release continues. "This has been a challenging time across the company, but the board is confident in the actions underway to set the company up for future success."

It's worth noting, at this point, that this press release is directed at investors – some of which have also called for Kotick's resignation.

Given that PlayStation and Xbox bosses are planning to re-evaluate their relationship with Activision Blizzard, the formation of this Committee may not be enough.

About the Author

Dom Peppiatt avatar

Dom Peppiatt


Dom is a veteran video games critic and consultant copywriter that has appeared in publications ranging from Daily Star to The Guardian. Passionate about games and the greater good they can achieve, you can usually find Dom listening to records, farting about in the kitchen, or playing Final Fantasy VIII (again).

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