Following a report claiming that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew of sexual misconduct at the company and withheld information on sexual misconduct from the company’s board, the heads of both PlayStation and Xbox are internally reviewing their relationship with the gaming giant.
According to Bloomberg, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan sent to his employees a link to the Wall Street Journal report, which alleges that Kotick had threatened to have an assistant killed in 2006 — a matter that was settled out of court and for which an Activision spokeswoman said Kotick had apologized for. Ryan would go on to say that Activision “has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment.”
PlayStation has also reached out to Activision Blizzard in hopes of learning what steps the company is taking in response to the Wall Street Journal report.
Xbox executive Phil Spencer has also internally said that the company is “evaluating” its relationship with Activision Blizzard. An email obtained by Bloomberg today from Spencer says that Xbox is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.”
For Activision Blizzard’s board of directors, the pushback coming from two of the largest companies in gaming only makes it harder to keep Bobby Kotick on board as CEO. The company’s board of directors, from whom he allegedly withheld information regarding sexual misconduct at the company, fell in behind him shortly after the Wall Street Journal report, saying that it “remains confident” in him.
Pressure to oust Kotick is also coming from inside Activision Blizzard, where hundreds of developers have walked out, refusing to return to work until Kotick resigns or is terminated. It is the second time developers at the company have walked out in the past six months.