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Activision Blizzard’s board responds to sex harassment crisis with new committee

The company’s two female directors will oversee Bobby Kotick’s cleanup of a toxic workplace

Activision Blizzard logo Image: Activision Blizzard
Joshua Rivera (he/him) is an entertainment and culture journalist specializing in film, TV, and video game criticism, the latest stop in a decade-plus career as a critic.

Activision Blizzard’s board of directors has announced the creation of a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” that will respond to the company’s ongoing sexual harassment and workplace discrimination crisis.

The two-member committee, according to a news release published late Monday night, will “oversee the Company’s progress in successfully implementing its new policies, procedures, and commitments to improve workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination at the Company.” The committee’s members are Dawn Ostroff and Reveta Bowers, the only women on Activision Blizzard’s 10-member board.

The committee’s stated means of accomplishing its goals are quite vague; Monday’s statement says it will “require management to develop key performance indicators and/or other means to measure progress and ensure accountability.” The release names chief executive Bobby Kotick as part of this management, along with Activision Blizzard’s chief people officer and chief compliance officer. All of them must provide frequent progress reports to the committee.

In a slightly more concrete goal, the committee is also “working to add a new, diverse director to the Board,” though the statement did not elaborate on what “diverse director” means.

The new committee appears to respond to growing calls, from both within the company and outside, to fire Kotick in light of a Nov. 16 report that he knew more about Activision’s toxic workplace than he told the board (including an alleged workplace rape at Sledgehammer Games) and minimized the problems.

Increased board oversight is the solution, the press release asserts. “Current circumstances demand increased Board engagement,” says the statement, which also notes that “additional future changes will help facilitate additional direct oversight and transparency.”

[Disclosure: Casey Wasserman is on the board of directors for Activision Blizzard as well as the board of directors of Vox Media, Polygon’s parent company.]