The turmoil over the lawsuit for Activision Blizzard continues as a high profile executive of the company has announced their departure.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Chief Legal Officer, Claire Hart, has shared on her LinkedIn that she’s left the company on Friday, September 17.
Hart said in her message on LinkedIn that “the past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns, but I feel honored to have worked with and met so many great people at Blizzard and across the Activision Blizzard businesses.”
She did not comment on whether her departure was related to what was happening at the company currently. Activision Blizzard also declined to comment beyond confirming her departure.
The news of her departure comes as this week the company confirmed new investigations by the SEC over the company’s handling of the lawsuit scandal.
This week, the situation heated up as Activision Blizzard is now under investigation by the SEC for potentially misleading investors over the brevity of the lawsuit and harassment that occurred at the company.
Activision Blizzard confirmed that they are cooperating with the SEC as part of their investigation into the company.
The lawsuit from California State, which surfaced in July, primarily focused on Blizzard Entertainment’s harassment and scandal issues, including sexual harassment, inequality amongst staff pay, and more issues.
Blizzard’s President of J. Allen Brack was the first executive to leave the company, resigning at the end of July. He was replaced by Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal as the new co-leaders of Blizzard Entertainment.
So far, Activision Blizzard has refused to met employee’s demands to chart a better future for the company. An employee group, A Better ABK, has been formed to provide their feedback to the executive team.
In other news in regards to Blizzard, the Executive Producer of Overwatch 2 is departing Blizzard this week.
Chacko Sonny, who was highly respected at Blizzard and seen as the person to chart Overwatch’s future following Jeff Kaplan’s departure, told staff in an email that he’s leaving, per Bloomberg. Sonny was perviously one the masterminds behind Call of Duty ELITE service back in 2011.
We’ll continue to update as the situation unfolds.
Leaker claims Activision is considering changing Call of Duty’s annual release schedule
A leaker has suggested that Activision’s annual CoD release may be coming to an end with extended cycles being considered.
A new Call of Duty title is released every year, with multiple studios taking it in turns to bring out a new game. A new leak however has made the bold claim that Activision may be thinking about changing its release schedule and model.
It’s become a given that a new CoD game will be released in November of each year, with the likes of Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Infinity Ward all taking it in turns to develop a new game.
It’s already rumored that Modern Warfare 2 is in the works for 2022, but depending on Activision’s approach, they may opt to change their release policy, starting with MW2.
Leaks seem to happen left, right, and center these days, with people able to learn a great deal of information about projects and plans, many of which turn out to be true.
The new Call of Duty rumor comes from leaker Ralph, who recently claimed that the reported Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer remaster has been canceled, and thinks that annual releases are being reconsidered.
A recent Tweet from them quite simply said: “Activision are reportedly in discussion for extending Call of Duty’s annual releases.”
As with any leak, this should be taken with a major pinch of salt. RalphsValve has recently come under scrutiny from fellow leakers regarding the accuracy of his claims.
With the rumored 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 title still potentially a year out, maybe two now, things can always change, and we’d recommend taking these claims with a pinch of salt.
Furthermore, given how much this could change the Call of Duty landscape going forward, we’d also strongly recommend waiting for official confirmation from Activision before assuming this is the direction CoD will be going in the future.
For more Call of Duty news, take a look at when Vanguard and Warzone Season 1 starts.
Image Credit: Activision / Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games
Activision Blizzard shareholders group call on CEO to resign
Shareholders are now calling for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to resign and be replaced as turmoil continues.
A group of Activision Blizzard shareholders have sent a letter to Activision Blizzard executives asking for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign immediately.
The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, was sent by a group of shareholders that own stock share in Activision Blizzard.
“In contrast to past company statements, CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of many incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination at Activision Blizzard, but failed either to ensure that the executives and managers responsible were terminated or to recognize and address the systematic nature of the company’s hostile workplace culture,” the shareholders, led by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) Investment Group stated in their letter.
The news comes as the Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb-shell report on Activision Blizzard on November 17, detailing how CEO Bobby Kotick knew about the company’s harassment issues and failed to properly address the situation accordingly over the years.
The WSJ also reported that Bobby Kotick allegedly called a former female assistance and threatened her.
The letter from the group is also asking for Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado, two of the longest-serving board members on the Activision Blizzard board of directors to retire by December 31, 2021, and allow new board members to further shape the future of the company.
“After the new revelations, it’s clear that the current leadership repeatedly failed to uphold a safe workplace — a basic function of their job,” SOC executive director Dieter Waizenegger said to The Washington Post. “Activision Blizzard needs a new CEO, board chair, and lead independent director with the expertise, skill set and conviction to truly change the company’s culture. We need to really have a reset button on the board.”
Activision Blizzard has declined to comment on the shareholder letter at this point.
The company issued a statement on November 16 stating that the WSJ report was “misleading” and “failed” to report on the changes CEO Kotick has made since the initial lawsuit dropped in July.
In addition, the company’s board of directors issued their own statement on November 16 stating they remain “confident” in Bobby Kotick as CEO. Activision Blizzard’s stock has taken a drop since the news surfaced.
Activision Blizzard employee group, A Better ABK, issued their own demand calling for Bobby Kotick to be replaced and staged a walkout on November 16.
We’ll continue to update as this situation unfolds.
Treyarch co-studio head left company as details on harassment allegations surface
New report details allegations at Sledgehammer Games and what Activision Blizzard CEO knew about it.
Treyarch’s co-studio head Dan Bunting has left Treyarch recently, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
In an extensive report from the WSJ, the site states that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick knew about multiple sexual harassment incidents and failed to properly notify the board of directors or address such situations.
As part of their report, WSJ states that Dan Bunting, Treyarch’s co-studio lead, was accused of sexual harassment in 2017 incident by a co-worker.
An internal investigation stated Bunting should be fired for the situation, but Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stepped in and kept him against the investigation’s results.
Bunting remained Co-Studio Head of Treyarch since then, even leading both Black Ops 4 and Black Ops Cold War development cycles at the studio.
Dan Bunting, co-head of Activision’s Treyarch studio, was accused by a female employee of sexually harassing her in 2017 after a night of drinking, according to people familiar with the incident. Activision’s human-resources department and other supervisors launched an internal investigation in 2019 and recommended that he be fired, but Mr. Kotick intervened to keep him, these people said.
Now, the WSJ reports that following their recent inquiry, Dan Bunting has left Treyarch and Activision.
It’s not clear who is currently leading Treyarch’s team. Mark Gordon was a co-studio head alongside Bunting, but no information confirmed on the new leadership team.
“After considering potential actions in light of that investigation, the company elected not to terminate Mr. Bunting, but instead to impose other disciplinary measures,” said an Activision Spokeswomen about the 2017 incident to WSJ.
The news comes as Activision Blizzard is under fire for multiple sexual harassment claims, pay discrimination, and more across the company.
WSJ also states that there were multiple incidents at Sledgehammer Games back in 2016 and 2017 where Kotick allegedly failed to notify the board of directors about allegations.
Their reporting states that a client claimed she had been raped in 2016 and 2017 by her male supervisor after drinking too much alcohol in office and work events. She reported her incident to HR, but nothing happened, per an email her lawyer sent directly to Activision Blizzard CEO.
The WSJ also reports that CEO Bobby Kotick knew about multiple different incidents at the company and failed to properly notify the board of directors about the investigations and inquiries. He reportedly even called a former female assistance and threatened her.
The Wall Street Journal’s full report is well worth a read.
Activision Blizzard has attempted to make multiple different changes to the company’s work culture to better align with requirements from the employees.
The company has listed out multiple changes, including zero tolerance policy, changes to different leadership positions, and more.
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