Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick is taking a major salary cut until he’s sorted out the problems with discrimination and harassment.
The head of Activision Blizzard has asked for his salary to be cut until everyone is happy that the problems at the company are resolved, after multiple lawsuits accused it of fostering a ‘frat boy’ culture of sexual discrimination, racism, and harassment.
Bobby Kotick, who was initially going to fight the first lawsuit and was heavily criticised by his own staff for his response, has announced that his salary is to be cut to the legal minimum in California, which works out as $62,500 (£45,300) a year.
He’s also refused to collect any bonuses or extra income, although that’s pretty meaningless considering he’s already had over $150 million in bonuses this year – so his purse strings are not going to need any tightening.
Considering how long investors have been trying to reduce Kotick’s income it’s at least something, as is a lengthy blog post in which Kotick announces five major changes planned for Activision Blizzard, as a means to change its company culture.
This includes a ‘zero-tolerance harassment policy’ that Kotick claims will be the strictest of any employer in California, with less reliance on written warnings and more instant dismissals.
Kotick has also pledged to increase the number of women and non-binary employees by 50% over the next five years and to invest $250 million in improving ‘opportunities for diverse talent’. Currently, 23% of staff are women or non-binary, so presumably the new target is 46%.
Activision Blizzard will now also waive arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims, which is something that staff have campaigned for specifically.
Kotick also pledged to improve pay equity but claims that at the moment women, on average, actually earn slightly more than men at the company.
Finally, he promised to update staff and shareholders regularly in regards to gender and diversity hiring, and the other commitments.
It’s certainly a major change of attitude compared to Kotick’s initial reaction to the problem but none of it is necessarily going to help in fighting the various lawsuits, which are still ongoing despite attempts to have them ‘paused’, after a disagreement between two of the government agencies investigating the publisher.
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