Quickly after last week’s Wall Street Journal report that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick shielded abusers at the company from repercussions as well as mistreated women himself, the heads of both PlayStation and Xbox stepped up to criticize the publisher and its lacking responses to the allegations. Following Jim Ryan and Phil Spencer’s internal emails to their respective companies, Fanbyte reports that Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser also sent an internal email on Friday, November 19th that says he finds the reports “distressing and disturbing.”
Bowser’s email was reportedly sent to every employee at all levels of Nintendo of America, including the internal development studios. Bowser says that he has been “following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company.” In addition to calling the reports “distressing and disturbing,” he says they “run counter to my values as well as Nintendo’s beliefs, values and policies.” Bowser expects the gaming industry and any partners of Nintendo to hold themselves to a high standard of an open and inclusive workplace.
Additionally, Bowser claims that Nintendo has been “in contact with Activision,” and says that they have “taken action and are assessing others.” Fanbyte notes that the email doesn’t offer any specificity into the actions that have been taken or are being considered. Bowser’s email also mentions working through E3 organizers the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) to “strenghten stances on harassment and abuse in the workplace.” Activision Blizzard and Nintendo are both members of the ESA—along with a number of other prominent publishers—and Bowser says they “must hold its members to the highest standard.”
A report over the weekend said that Kotick is considering stepping down if change within Activision Blizzard’s culture doesn’t happen quickly enough, though this report does smack of irony given that many demands to fix the culture start with the removal of Kotick anyway. At this time, the Activision Blizzard board of directors have made their official stance in backing the ongoing leadership of Kotick despite the reports.