At least 500 Activision Blizzard current employees and contractors have signed a petition calling for the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick. The petition, circulated via the company's internal Slack and published via Google Docs Thursday afternoon, comes after Kotick has signaled he would stay in charge despite a recent report indicating he misled board members about the extent and his knowledge of sexual harassment at the company.
"We, the undersigned, no longer have confidence in the leadership of Bobby Kotick as the CEO of Activision Blizzard," reads the petition. "The information that has come to light about his behaviors and practices in the running of our companies runs counter to the culture and integrity we require of our leadership--and directly conflicts with the initiatives started by our peers."
"We ask that Bobby Kotick remove himself as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and that shareholders be allowed to select the new CEO without the input of Bobby, who we are aware owns a substantial portion of the voting rights of the shareholders."
Activision Blizzard employs more than 9,500 workers across its many studios and locations. Employee organizers who created the petition expect more signatures to accumulate as time passes.
The petition is the latest collective action taken by Activision Blizzard employees since the publication of a lawsuit against the company by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. More than 150 employees at subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment walked out of the studio's Irvine, Calif. campus Tuesday to call for Kotick's resignation. It was the second walkout staged by employees at Blizzard since the DFEH lawsuit's publication.
Pressure on Kotick continues to mount. An activist minority shareholder group in Activision Blizzard has called for his resignation, and PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has expressed "deep concern" at how Activision Blizzard has handled what he termed a "deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment," in an email to PlayStation employees obtained by Bloomberg.
Despite all this, and in defiance of the zero tolerance policy Kotick himself established for harassment at the company amid these revelations, Activision Blizzard's board has thrown its support behind the embattled CEO.
Activision Blizzard remains under investigation by the DFEH and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It is also involved in settling an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the defendant in a class-action lawsuit by shareholders alleging violation of securities laws, and the subject of unfair labor practice complaint filed by workers and the Communications Workers of America.