Activision CEO Bobby Kotick threatened to have his former assistant killed, according to a bombshell new investigation

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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick threatened to have his former assistant killed, according to a bombshell new investigation
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick
  • Activision CEO Bobby Kotick threatened to have his former assistant killed, according to a WSJ report.
  • "Mr. Kotick quickly apologized 16 years ago," an Activision representative said.
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In 2006, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick reportedly left his assistant a voicemail threatening to have her killed.

The dispute, first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, was said to have been settled out of court.

An Activision spokesperson said in an email to Insider that "Mr. Kotick quickly apologized 16 years ago." The representative referred to Kotick's threat as "obviously hyperbolic and inappropriate," and said that "he deeply regrets the exaggeration and tone" in the message.

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It was just one detail of the Wall Street Journal's major investigation into Kotick's leadership at one of the biggest video game publishing houses in the world, the multibillion dollar behemoth behind "Call of Duty," and "World of Warcraft," and "Overwatch," among many others.

Kotick reportedly knew for years about a variety of claims of sexual harassment and rape at his company.

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The Wall Street Journal report details several specific examples of harassment and rape at Activision: Kotick was not only aware of those claims but, in a least one case, reportedly intervened to keep a male staffer who was accused of sexual harassment despite the company's human resources department recommending he be fired.

In one instance, a female employee at Activision subsidiary Sledgehammer Games (which works on the "Call of Duty" franchise) said she was raped twice by her male supervisor, in 2016 and in 2017. She reported this to the company's HR department, which she said took no action, before retaining a lawyer. Activision settled the case out of court, and Kotick didn't tell the company's board, according to the Journal.

In another instance, Dan Bunting, the head of the Activision-owned studio Treyarch, was accused of harassing a female employee, and Activision's HR department recommended that he be let go. Instead, Kotick stepped in, and Bunting was "given counseling and allowed to remain at the company," according to the report.

In a statement on Tuesday, Activision said it is "disappointed" in the report, "which represents a misleading view of Activision Blizzard and our CEO."

Meanwhile, a group of Activision employees is staging a walkout in response to the report, and demanding that Kotick step down from his role as CEO. "We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO," the group said in a message on Twitter.

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Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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