Activision Blizzard's Lesson in Ownership

Joshua A. Luna
July 29, 2021
Activision Blizzard's Lesson in Ownership
Activision Blizzard

The main story

Video game company Activision Blizzard is under the microscope this month amid a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

After a two-year investigation into Activision Blizzard, the California DFEH filed a suit claiming instances of widespread harassment and discrimination towards female employees.

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack sent an internal memo to employees addressing the allegations and offering to answer any questions, followed by a separate email later that day by EVP of Corporate Affairs Fran Townsend claiming the suit was meritless and false.

Since then, CEO Bobby Kotick has apologized for the caustic response to the suit, and employees staged a walkout Wednesday afternoon in response to Townsend's email.

Teachable Moment

A hot mess is an understatement in this scenario.

On one end, you have employee allegations that have been known and persisted for years, and on the other, you have leadership sending mixed signals and tone-deaf messages to employees, which show no support to any of those affected.

Townsend's actions show a clear divide in an "us vs. them" mentality that no CEO apology can rectify.

The truth of the matter is this: when you're a leader, everything falls on you.

Even when you didn't cause the specific situation, the incidents (or whatever you'd like to call it) happened in your house and under your watch.

You must have the emotional maturity to take ownership and protect your employees, regardless of what your role in the matter is.