WSJ: ‘Activision CEO Bobby Kotick Knew for Years About Sexual-Misconduct Allegations at Videogame Giant’

Kirsten Grind, Ben Fritz, and Sarah E. Needleman, reporting yesterday for The Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

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. Mr. Bunting, who led Treyarch through the production of several successful Call of Duty games, was given counseling and allowed to remain at the company, these people said.

Mr. Bunting didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Activision spokeswoman said an outside investigation was conducted in 2020. “After considering potential actions in light of that investigation, the company elected not to terminate Mr. Bunting, but instead to impose other disciplinary measures,” she said. Mr. Bunting left the company after the Journal asked about the incident.

The article’s lede makes the situation at Activision sound pretty bad, but much of the next page or so is about stuff that was already known by Activision’s board. Then we get to the above quoted passage. HR recommended firing Bunting two years ago; when the Journal inquired about the incident now, Bunting quit the company. That he remained at the company between 2019 and now is all on Kotick. If it’s defensible, why quit now?

Chris Plante, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Polygon, today: “Bobby Kotick Must Resign”.

This is not the sort of thing Polygon normally does.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021