Following the Wall Street Journal‘s damning report on Bobby Kotick’s complicity, covering up of and participation in Activision Blizzard’s toxic culture of sexual discrimination and harassment, the company has faced waves of criticism from fans, employees and news outlets alike. Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, has reportedly thrown his own voice into the ring via a staff email. What’s more, is that he says he plans to back his words up with actions as he “[evaluates] all aspects of [Xbox’s] relationship” with the games company.
Spencer speaks up
In a staff email (via Bloomberg), Spencer expressed that he and his team are “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” that have taken place at Activision Blizzard. Referring to the initial California DFEH lawsuit filed in July and everything that’s made headlines since then, Spencer wrote: “This type of behavior has no place in our industry.”
Spencer reportedly committed to taking firm action against Activision Blizzard, though Bloomberg doesn’t provide details on what that may look like. Regardless, as one of the biggest players in the video game industry, any form of tangible action from Xbox would mean more than a little trouble for Activision Blizzard.
Activision Blizzard has been on shaky ground since the DFEH suit was picked up by the news cycle, Bloomberg reports that this week has been particularly disheartening for its shareholders. Global financial services leader J.B. Morgan recently took Activision Blizzard’s stock off of its recommendation list, citing the growing controversy surrounding the company and its CEO. Stock prices dipped 3% yesterday resulting in total losses for this week alone to 10%.
While Activision Blizzard has been universally planned since the California DFEH’s suit first came to light, big names like Spencer’s have some serious weight to them that could have dire consequences for the company. PlayStation’s Chief Jim Ryan recently sent a similar staff email to his Xbox counterparts criticising Kotick and Acti-Bliz leadership for having “not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment.”