The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has commented on the ongoing harassment situation at Activision Blizzard. Following the allegations made against CEO Bobby Kotick, the ESA addressed the sort of allegations that have been repeatedly coming out aginst the Call of Duty publisher.
The news initially broke on July 21st 2021 that a lawsuit was being filed against Activision Blizzard by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, claiming that the publisher was home to and encouraged a "frat boy" environment. It was noted that female empoyees were subjected to constant sexual harassment, all while the company and its executive Bobby Kotick was allegedly aware of the unprofessional and problematic behaviour occurring.
Following the lawsuit, thousands of Activision Blizzard developers responded by signing an open petition confirming the behaviours detailed in the lawsuit before going on strike. Since July, more and more companies and organisations have addressed the issues within Activision Blizzard, including most recently the ESA. After Doug Bowser of Nintendo mentioned that Nintendo had been working with the trade body to strengthen the stance against harassment and ensure a case such as what happened at Activision Blizzard doesn't occur again.
In its statement, the ESA does not directly refer to Activision Blizzard, though the trade body does describe the sort of actions and allegations that emerged against Activision Blizzard. "Harassment, abuse, or mistreatment of any kind in the workplace is unacceptable and must never be tolerated," the ESA said. "When allegations arise, people impacted need to have their voices heard. Any allegation needs to be acknowledged, thoroughly investigated, and addressed with meaningful consequences."
The ESA are not alone in taking a stance against harassment and mistreatment in the workplace. In addition to the trade body, three pillars of the gaming industry, in the form of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have all made statements disavowing the behaviours seen at Activision Blizzard. In a company-wide email, Doug Bowser reportedly expressed great concern over the ongoing situtation, labelling the allegations as "distressing and disturbing." Bowser does not go into explicit detail in his email, though the Nintendo chief does confirm that the company has been working closely with the ESA and striving to create an "open and inclusive workplace."
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer have both made comments coming out against the harassment alleged in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, with Ryan declaring he was "stunned" by the behaviours on display at the Call of Duty publisher while Spencer claimed he was "disturbed and deeply troubled."
This news follows the recent allegations made against CEO of Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick, who was accused of being aware of the "frat boy" behaviour and not acting as soon as he could have against the harassment in the workplace. Kotick has found himself under pressure to resign and has so far informed the company he would consider stepping down if unable to fix the ongoing problem.
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