Bobby Kotick Activision Blizzard Acquisition 1

Bobby Kotick, the boss at the embattled video game publisher Activision Blizzard, has told Variety that there has never been a “systemic issue with harassment” at the organisation – despite being targeted by the State of California for its alleged “frat boy” culture. In the aftermath of the allegations, numerous sexual harassment lawsuits were filed against the firm – and ironically in the hours following this specific interview, a new report noted there had been 114 harassment, discrimination, or retaliation complaints filed by employees in the last year alone.

“We’ve had every possible form of investigation done,” Kotick said. “And we did not have a systemic issue with harassment – ever. We didn't have any of what were mischaracterisations reported in the media. But what we did have was a very aggressive labour movement working hard to try and destabilise the company.” Kotick went on to blame “outside forces” for his company’s poor reputation. “I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if any of what you read in the inflammatory narrative was truthful.”

The executive went on to claim that he’s not anti-union: “I am not like other CEOs that are anti-union. I’m the only Fortune 500 CEO who's a member of a union. If we have employees who want a union to represent them, and they believe that that union is going to be able to provide them with opportunities and enhancements to their work experience, I’m all for it. I have a mother who was a teacher. I have no aversion to a union. What I do have an aversion to is a union that doesn’t play by the rules.”

Kotick also touched upon the personal criticism he’s received, and said there were antisemitic undertones: “The hatred has turned into a lot of antisemitism. When you look at images of me on the Internet, there are these antisemitic undertones. My kids have gotten death threats.”

Of course, the one-time Moneyball star may not be at Activision Blizzard for too much longer, assuming Microsoft’s outrageous $69 billion buyout clears. He said the Redmond firm represents “the best place for us to be” and added: “I like the company. I like the culture. I’m really scared about the economy – compensation for talent has been ratcheting up in ways that are complex for us to deal with. So this deal made a lot of sense.”

However, perhaps pre-empting the possibility of the deal falling through, he insisted the organisation would be fine without the Xbox maker: “We have a great company. We have an enormous amount of momentum, and we have an extraordinary balance sheet. And we can continue to be successful alone like we have been for the last 30 years. But it’ll be great if the deal goes through because I think it’s the right thing for our industry.”

[source, via]