Microsoft president Brad Smith has said that staff at Activision Blizzard will be “under scrutiny” following its acquisition of the publisher.

Last month, Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard in a deal worth around £50billion, with the US Federal Trade Commission currently conducting an antitrust investigation.

The purchase comes after Activision was hit by a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and another by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission following multiple allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace misconduct.

In between that, its own staff also filed a complaint too, alleging that the company used intimidation and “coercive tactics” to stifle staff trying to improve working conditions.

It’s also been alleged that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of sexual misconduct claims within the company since 2018 but did not inform Activision’s board of directors. A report by the Wall Street Journal also suggested that Kotick played a first-hand part in the culture that has embroiled Activision in sexual harassment lawsuits and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bobby Kotick, President and CEO, Activision Blizzard in 2014 CREDIT: Javier Rojas

Speaking CNBC (via VGC) about the accusations, Smith said: “We’re looking to the leadership team at Activision Blizzard today to make culture and workplace safety a top priority every single day, until the day when this deal hopefully closes. And then we’ll take over and we need to make that same commitment.”

He was then asked if that means leadership changes are imminent. “What we’ve said is that there will be some aspects that will change, but it will all be one new team that will work together”.

“Most importantly we want to see the culture evolve, and we’ll see how people perform between now and the day this closes, assuming it’s approved,” continued Smith. “And then we’ll have the opportunity to make sure that we have the right people in the right position. I think we all should live in a world where we’re under scrutiny. I mean the world is changing, I think mostly in a positive way.

“It’s just one more example of where we’re going to serve our employees the best if we embrace the opportunity to change”.

It follows comments from Xbox chief Phil Spencer who said on a call “we’re looking forward to working with the thousands of Activision Blizzard employees with the same approach of proactive inclusion and partnership that we extend to every member of the Microsoft family.”

“We believe firmly that the great teams at Activision Blizzard have their best work in front of them, and we’re looking forward to making sure they feel safe, supported and engaged in every aspect of their work going forward.”

The post Activision staff “under scrutiny” following Microsoft acquisition appeared first on NME.


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