On Tuesday, Blizzard-Activision shareholder/investor group SOC released a letter criticizing the company’s response to recent sexual harassment and gender discrimination allegations. According to the SOC, the changes in Bobby Kotick’s response do not “go nearly far enough to address the deep and widespread issues with equity, inclusion, and human capital management” that the company is facing. The story was first reported by Megan Farokhmanesh on Axiom.
Activision Blizzard shareholder/investment group SOC released a letter today demanding changes following management's "inadequate response" to the company's ongoing culture problems https://t.co/R0rmImcISB pic.twitter.com/NeeTGiPLo4
— Megan Farokhmanesh (@Megan_Nicolett) August 10, 2021
“Activision Blizzard shareholder/investment group SOC released a letter today demanding changes following management’s ‘inadequate response’ to the company’s ongoing culture problems,” Farokhmanesh tweeted.
What changes does the SOC demand of Activision Blizzard in their letter?
The letter demanded several changes to Bobby Kotick’s original response to the sexual harassment lawsuit. The SOC brought to light that “no changes have been announced or proposed that would in any way alter the current process for filling vacancies either to the board of directors or to senior management.” The letter specifically requests Blizzard hire a woman director with a history of advocacy for marginalized communities by the end of 2021.
The letter also raised the issue of the pay differential. The SOC noted that there have been no promises from Blizzard’s side in terms of pay cuts for involved executives. The SOC also criticized the lack of promises towards equity within the company. “Claw back bonuses from executives found to have engaged in or enabled abusive behavior, award no bonuses for 2021, and make future bonus awards contingent on the company as a whole achieving clearly articulated and independently verified milestones for diversity and equity.”
The final criticism lies with the choice of law firm that Blizzard-Activision chose for their internal review, Wilmerhale. “The announced review by Wilmer Hale is deficient in a number of ways: this firm has a sterling reputation as a defender of the wealthy and connected,” the letter from the SOC said. “But it has no track record of uncovering wrongdoing, the lead investigator does not have in-depth experience investigating workplace harassment and abuse.” The SOC has specifically asked Blizzard-Activision to conduct a company-wide Equity Review that many other companies have also done.
There is currently no response from Blizzard-Activision on the matter.