Xbox chief: 'Evaluating' relationship with Activision after harassment, discrimination allegations

The head of Xbox told employees in an email that he is “evaluating” the company's relationship with Activision Blizzard after a Wall Street Journal investigation found that its chief executive was aware of reports of sexual misconduct at the video game publisher, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

The email by Phil Spencer, which was seen by Bloomberg, said he is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments,” adding later that “this type of behavior has no place in our industry.”

Microsoft, which owns Xbox, confirmed to The Hill that the Bloomberg report was accurate and shared a statement from Spencer.

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“I personally have strong values for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox. This is not a destination but a journey that we will always be on. The leadership at Xbox and Microsoft stand by our teams and support them in building a safer environment for all,” it said.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement that it respected “all feedback from our valued partners” and was "engaging with them further." 

“We have detailed important changes we have implemented in recent weeks, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to the work of ensuring our culture and workplace are safe, diverse, and inclusive. We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team,” the spokesperson continued.

The news comes after a damning Wall Street Journal investigation found that Activision’s chief executive, Bobby Kotick, was aware of reports of sexual harassment but did not disclose all the details to its board of directors, which spoke to people familiar with the matter, former employees and analyzed internal documents.

People familiar told the Journal that the video game publisher received hundreds of reports pertaining to disparities in pay, sexual assault and other concerns following a lawsuit in July in California. 

“I am very committed to making sure we have the most welcoming, most inclusive workplace in the industry,” Kotick told the Journal in an interview, saying he provides adequate information to the board of directors and is transparent with them.