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Activision Zoom Meeting with Employees Doubles Down on Appalling Official Statement
2021/07/26 at 3:38 PM
In sharp contrast to the
open letter criticizing Activision's official statement
, Activision leadership held a dissatisfying Zoom meeting with employees today, which called Fran Townsend's poorly received message an "apology" and stated the corporate headquarters intent to fight against the California lawsuit. According to the
original reporting by Uppercutcrit.com
, only around 500 employees were present in the Zoom call today, purportedly due to some kind of scheduling error, although a larger meeting with the rest of the company is supposed to be scheduled for tomorrow.
Activision All-Hands Meeting with Joshua TaubOpen Letter Against Activision's Official Statement
It is very important to understand that this article primarily references the corporate holding company Activision Blizzard rather than the studio Blizzard Entertainment, and it is unclear if anyone at Blizzard Entertainment (the studio) was actually involved in this meeting
. Likewise, it's also unclear if "all-hands" means literally everyone in the company - Activision employs somewhere around 10,000 people in total, which wouldn't really be feasible over Zoom - though given the lack of Blizzard Entertainment names in the article, it seems more likely that this meeting was intended only for Activision's corporate branch.
Activision executives Joshua Taub, Fran Townsend, and Rob Kostich
The meeting was led by Activision executive Joshua Taub, previously Vice President of Skylanders Business and currently listed as Vice President of Worldwide Supply Chain.
Please keep in mind that these are unverified second-hand quotes,
relayed by Uppercutcrit's unnamed source
Taub started the meeting off by saying that he and Bobby Kotick, Activision’s CEO, “have never seen this,” but that “does not mean this behavior does not happen.” Taub went on to say that for him, “zero tolerance means claims are investigated properly,” which apparently also means strictly internally. “We don’t publicize all of these claims, we work with the employee and the person who is accused and try to work on a resolution,” Taub said, according to our source.
When asked about unionization by one of the employees, Taub’s answer was again pushing for internal handling of these situations. “The best way for protection is reaching out to your supervisors, hotline and avenues."
When asked how hard it was to write a company apology, Taub simply responded: “We did,” before adding, “I can’t control how everybody in the company responds.” There seems to be a lot of this going around, as Taub also acknowledged that “the note from Fran (Frances Townsend) wasn’t the right communication.”
Though there were also several mentions of “doing better” and helping employees “find their voice,” it seems Activision is still planning to actively combat the lawsuit being brought against it by the State of California. According to our source, Taub said: “I think the State of California has filed a suit and we said we were gonna fight it.”
“It will go through a legal process but this is an allegation not a conviction.”
The sole high point within the article is a screencapped message from Activision President Rob Kostich (not to be confused with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick), which expressed a more somber tone than
Fran Townsend's disastrous handwaving of the situation
, calling the allegations "deeply disturbing" and "not reflective of our Activison company values."
At least one member of Activision's executive branch acknowledges the gravity of the situation.
The continual mixed messages coming out of Activision Blizzard (the corporate headquarters) and Blizzard Entertainment (the studio) makes it clear that there are two very different sets of discourse going on. Activision leadership continues to
downplay the allegations
and push for employees to trust the very system which appears to have failed them, while
Blizzard leadership have all been much more empathetic - likely because the allegations raised in the
took place within their studio, rather some dissociable offshoot of the greater company.
With the meeting purportedly rescheduled for tomorrow to include more employees, we will revisit this once more information becomes available.
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