PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has reportedly criticised Activision in an internal email to employees, according to Bloomberg. The correspondence, read by journalist Jason Schreier, calls out the Call of Duty publisher for its inadequate response to allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment, which have been rumbling for months now.
The story exploded once more this week after an exposé was published by the Wall Street Journal, which alleged CEO Bobby Kotick had been aware of the organisation’s unsavoury work culture for years. This prompted over 100 employees to walk out earlier in the week, asking for Kotick’s resignation. A group of shareholders, accounting for around one per cent of Activision’s stock, have also written to the board asking for his termination.
And as PlayStation is one of Activision’s biggest partners, Ryan’s comments certainly won’t help Kotick’s cause. In a strongly worded email, he told employees that he was “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” the aforementioned Wall Street Journal report. He added that the platform holder reached out to Activision “immediately” to “express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article”.
Ryan also took a moment to emphasise that Sony is “committed to ensuring our community of developers and gamers feel safe and respected, and providing a secure work environment for every employee”. He encouraged any staff to report any instances of harassment and discrimination, and assured they would be investigated appropriately. First-party studios Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games have come underfire for alleged workplace issues in the past.
At the time of writing, Kotick remains in office, although mounting pressure from around the industry is increasingly making his position untenable. While Ryan’s email wasn’t intended to be shared publicly, it will ultimately prove incredibly damaging; PlayStation is one of the biggest platforms for Activision’s products, and also the principle marketing partner for the incredibly lucrative Call of Duty.