Bobby Kotick is at it again

Bobby Kotick

In an interview with Variety, the Activision Blizzard CEO claims that the company has been mischaracterised, and blames aggressive unions.


Well, look who’s on the front cover of Variety this week. It’s Bobby Kotick, and he’s here to tell us that actually everything is fine at Activision Blizzard, thankyouverymuch. Any bad things you might have heard are probably ‘mischaracterisations’.

As a reminder, Activision Blizzard has faced multiple lawsuits over the past few years over claims of widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination at the company.

“We’ve had every possible form of investigation done. And we did not have a systemic issue with harassment — ever. We didn’t have any of what were mischaracterizations reported in the media,” Kotick says in the interview. “But what we did have was a very aggressive labor movement working hard to try and destabilize the company.”

Ah, so it was the unions all along. Well, I’m glad that’s been settled.

Unconvinced of Kotick’s defence, Andy Chalk at PC Gamer has put together an excellent analysis of the CEO’s various statements in the Variety feature, and how they square with the company’s actual actions when it comes to harassment lawsuits and dealing with unions.

Kotick also vehemently denies allegations raised by a Wall Street Journal investigation that alleged, among other things, that he had known for years about sexual harassment at the company. “I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if any of what you read in the inflammatory narrative was truthful,” Kotick told Variety.

Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier thinks that Kotick got off lightly in the interview. “I am a big fan of journalists aiming to offer a more nuanced perspective on someone who is usually portrayed as a cartoon villain,” he said in a tweet, “but the lack of reporting diligence in this piece (no follow-ups or specifics on the WSJ allegations) is a massive failure.”

He continues: “BK says the union was ‘working hard to try and destabilize the company.’ Why no follow-up or investigation? Does he have proof? What if he’s actually right? This sort of journalistic malpractice hurts everybody, including, ironically, the subject of the puff piece.”

Read more: Companies are not your friends

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