Reported internal staff emails from heads of both Xbox and PlayStation have criticised the response from Activision Blizzard following a report earlier this week accusing its CEO Bobby Kotick of knowing and being involved in harassment at the company.
According to Bloomberg, Xbox’s Phil Spencer has reportedly sent an internal staff email to say the company is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.” Bloomberg says the letter goes on to state Spencer and the leadership team were “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. He also is said to have added “this type of behaviour has no place in our industry”.
The letter comes barely 24 hours after a similar internal email was reportedly sent by PlayStation boss Jim Ryan to his own employees. Once again according to Bloomberg, it apparently reads that Ryan and the PlayStation leadership team were “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” the allegations. He said that Activision “has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment.”
Ryan’s email is alleged to go on to say “We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article. We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”
Both letters come as a staff petition been gaining traction calling for Kotick to step down from Activision Blizzard. Launching on Thursday evening (spotted by The Verge) the petition has been signed at the time of writing by 1337 current and former employees and contractors of the company. It asks “that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders.”
For their part, Activision Blizzard gave a statement to Bloomberg on the Xbox letter. It said “We respect all feedback from our valued partners and are engaging with them further. We have detailed important changes we have implemented in recent weeks, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to the work of ensuring our culture and workplace are safe, diverse, and inclusive. We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team.”