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Activision Blizzard's Controversial New Plan Is Turning Heads

At this point, Activision Blizzard can't deny that it has to address the Bobby Kotick in the room. Many have called for the company's CEO to step down since he came under fire in a recent Wall Street Journal report, which claimed that he knew about sexual harassment and abuse in his company, and even perpetuated in it in some cases. Some doubt that the confidence of the company's Board of Directors, which backed him in the face of backlash from workers, shareholders, and even other gaming giant bosses, will be enough to save him. However, Kotick and the board seem optimistic about the new "Workplace Responsibility Committee" they've just created in an attempt to salvage the company's image.

As described in a company blog post, the Workplace Responsibility Committee consists of Dawn Ostroff, Reveta Bowers, and one unannounced "new, diverse director." Ostroff and Bowers are the only two women on the Board of Directors, and they have been tasked with monitoring Kotick and the other board members for signs of improvement. The company hasn't hired the third member of this task force yet, but it might be a bit of a challenge, considering former Activision Blizzard co-lead Jen Oneal left the company after allegedly being "tokenized, marginalized and discriminated against" (per Wall Street Journal).

Some have already argued this committee plan won't work in the way Activision Blizzard hopes.

The problem with Activision Blizzard's plan

Many netizens seem to believe that no meaningful change will happen as long as Activision Blizzard's leadership stays the way it is. A number of fans have seen the formation of the Workplace Responsibility Committee as little more than a distraction from the ongoing harassment lawsuits, too. 

Some also voiced their doubts about the Workplace Responsibility Committee in general. After all, these are the people at the center of the company's serious allegations, essentially tasked with judging themselves. A Better ABK, Activision Blizzard's workers alliance, specifically demanded an "unbiased, third party audit," so that nobody within the company could tamper with the investigation. Presumably, this is because A Better ABK feels that the people in charge can't be trusted to upend the years of workplace toxicity that they had a hand in creating.

WSJ reported that Kotick would consider stepping down if he and the board were unable to fix the company's shady work culture in a timely manner. However, as reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier and others, it seems likely that the board will try to hold onto Kotick, simply due to the years of shared investment and money-making together. 

For now, the public may have to pin its faith on this controversial new Workplace Responsibility Committee and see if the company finally ousts Kotick later on. As Activision Blizzard wrote in its announcement, "This has been a challenging time across the Company, but the Board is confident in the actions underway to set the Company up for future success."