The fallout seems never ending following the Wall Street Journal’s explosive article on the ongoing sexual harassment scandal at Blizzard. Now Sony Interactive CEO Jim Ryan has joined the throngs of Activision Blizzard employees calling for Bobby Kotick to step down. According to Bloomberg, Ryan penned an internal memo to SIE staff saying he was “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” the Journal’s expose.
“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,” Ryan says in the message. “We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”
Clearly, Sony Interactive Entertainment is one of Activision’s most important partners. This relationship is exemplified by the fact that Sony often gets preferential treatment on first release Call of Duty DLC. But the vehemence of Ryan’s email, and Kotick’s alleged actions could soon put that relationship under serious pressure.
The Wall Street Journal report claims that the Blizzard CEO was fully aware of the many accusations of sexual harassment. It claism he may have even intervened to protect some of those facing some of the more severe allegations. Wosre still, that he himself may have faced allegations of his own.
Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive CEO openly criticises Activisions response to repeated allegations of sexual harassment
In response to the article, in a statement made to the industry at large a spokesperson for Blizzard said that it presented a “misleading view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO”. In direct contradiction to this, just hours after publication Blizzard employees stages a mass walkout. But following the strike, Activision Blizzard’s board of directors issued a statement expressing it’s continue support of Kotick’s leadership.
Finally, according to a report published by Game Developer, Activision Blizzard continued to show support for Kotick during an all-hands meeting flowing the articles publication. During this meeting, the publisher was questioned over the new “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment. But at the time, the company told employees there was “no evidence” supporting any of the claims against the CEO. The reason given wasn’t that it didn’t happen, but that the claims related to an incident over a decade ago.
Interesting that a company would cite the statute of limitations on what is, unquestionably a crime rather than actually deny the offence took place. Rather telling, if you ask us. Either way, public denouement from Sony is no small matter. Whether Sony choose to let this impact its business relations, or face charges of hypocrisy in the court of public opinion remains to be seen. But this saga is far from over, and Koteck remains very much under significant public scrutiny.
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