Activision Blizzard ends forced arbitration as CEO takes a massive pay cut

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent a letter updating employees on the further steps he and the company will take to change its image in the wake of multiple sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits. Most notably, Kotick says that Activision Blizzard will employ a zero-tolerance harassment policy, waive arbitration in sexual harassment and discrimination claims, and the billion-dollar-net-worth CEO will take a massive pay cut — earning only $62,500 per year in total compensation until the board of directors feels certain diversity, equity, and inclusion goals are met. (Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard shareholders approved a $155 million pay package for Kotick.)

The letter outlined other goals for the company, including an investment of $250 million over ten years in programs that support diversity in the gaming and technology industries. Activision Blizzard is also committing to expanding the number of women and nonbinary people it employs by 50 percent.

Staring in July, Activision Blizzard was hit by several lawsuits from government agencies accusing the company of permitting a culture of sexual harassment, abuse, discrimination, retaliation, and other unfair labor practices. Employees staged a walkout and formed an advocacy group called A Better ABK demanding change from the company.

One of the chief demands of A Better ABK was the end to forced arbitration, greater pay transparency, and improved hiring practices that promote greater diversity and inclusion among Activision Blizzard’s workforce. Kotick’s letter seemingly addresses those demands and supports the company’s other actions, including the firing of over 20 people and multiple updates to its games to remove problematic content, references, and people.

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