Word leaked out from Nintendo of America on November 22, 2021 that President Doug Bowser considers the situation at Activision Blizzard to be “distressing and disturbing.” His thoughts on the matter were discovered by Fanbyte inside an email addressed to employees on November 17. Fanbyte claims to have been able to verify the source.
“Along with all of you, I’ve been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company,” Bowser says. “I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo’s beliefs, values, and policies.”
Bowser described the views of his company with respect to inclusivity in the workplace and how Nintendo holds all of its business partners to the same standard. He said that Nintendo has already been “in contact with Activision.” Bowser also mentioned that Nintendo has “taken action” and is “assessing others.” While it remains unclear what this means, Bowser did however bring up the Entertainment Software Association. This group includes most of the major publishers in the games industry like Microsoft, Sony, Activision Blizzard, and of course Nintendo. Bowser said that he reached out to this organization last week, asking for measures to be taken at the industry level against sexual harassment and workplace abuse.
“Every company in the industry must create an environment where everyone is respected and treated as equals and where all understand the consequences of not doing so,” Bowser says.
The scandal at Activision Blizzard is largely centered on Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick. He apparently knew for years that sexual harassment and workplace abuse were taking place at the company, but Kotick did basically nothing to stop the bahavior. The report of this caused over 100 employees to walk off the job and a group of shareholders to call for his resignation. Kotick became the subject of an employee petition calling for his removal from office. There has been a public petition along the same lines. People from across the games industry have been questioning his leadership including the Vice President of Microsoft, Phil Spencer, and the Chief Executive Officer of Sony, Jim Ryan, who have both claimed to be reconsidering their business relationships with Activision Blizzard. Girls Who Code has backed away from the company. Kotick recently claimed that he would resign if the problems at Activision Blizzard continue, but with the board of directors behind him, he has been dragging his heels on the issue for some time.
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