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Wall Street Journal Reveals Bobby Kotick's Shady Plan

Activision Blizzard has been in hot water for a while now as the shady side of the Fortune 500 company has come to light. Allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment led to a pile of lawsuits, studio heads stepping down, employee strikes, and fan protests. The company as a whole has been called out for its toxic workplace culture, but particular scrutiny has been placed on CEO Bobby Kotick, who came under fire in a Wall Street Journal report back in November. The report revealed documentation showing that he potentially knew about many of the allegations of employee misconduct, but kept that information hidden from the board of directors even when regulators began investigating Activision Blizzard back in 2018. Kotick responded with a statement in which he claimed the WSJ article was misleading and that "anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn't really appreciate how important this is to me." The scandal became more complicated after reports revealed that Activision Blizzard has actively tried to hide the number of people who have been either terminated or reprimanded for misconduct in the last year. Despite numerous calls for the CEO to step down, however, Kotick has managed to keep a tenuous grasp on the company's reins.


Now, Microsoft's 68.7 billion dollar purchase of the company seems to have put many aspects of its operation back under the microscope and a new report from the WSJ reveals that Kotick had an even more nefarious plan for spinning public opinion in his favor.

Kotick considered buying gaming journalism outlets

So, what is a CEO to do when they can't get good press? Buy it! A new Wall Street Journal report claimed that Kotick considered buying Kotaku and PC Gamer, two well-known gaming journalism outlets with large readerships. It could be that Kotick backed out when he realized how transparent this move would have been, which likely would have garnered even more bad press from other outlets. Alternately, the owners of Kotaku and PC Gamer simply didn't wish to sell. The report didn't go into detail on how far this idea got or why it was eventually scrapped, but the basic plan was to buy both companies and then use them to spin coverage in Kotick and Activision Blizzard's favor. While not technically illegal, this would certainly press the boundaries of moral ambiguity.


Unfortunately, Kotick isn't the first CEO to consider buying a news outlet. An investigative piece in the Columbia Journalism Review questioned whether or not the Washington Post could be objective when covering stories related to Amazon since the Post is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.