Nov 23, 2021 - Technology

Nintendo executive calls Activision harassment allegations "disturbing"

Doug Bowser | Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Nintendo

Doug Bowser. Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Nintendo

Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser has joined the chorus of industry figures criticizing Activision Blizzard and its leadership over recent reports of company harassment and abuse.

Driving the news: Fanbyte first reported on the memo in which Bowser called the accusations "distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo's beliefs, values and policies."

  • The memo was reportedly sent on Nov. 19 to all levels of Nintendo of America staff.
  • Bowser adds that Nintendo is "in contact with Activision" and is considering further actions.
  • A Nintendo spokesperson confirmed the accuracy of the memo to Axios.

An Entertainment Software Association spokesperson told Axios that harassment, abuse or mistreatment in the workplace "is unacceptable and must never be tolerated."

  • "As an industry association, the ESA convenes its member companies to create dialogue and shape actions to ensure that these beliefs are realized."
  • "Any allegation needs to be acknowledged, thoroughly investigated, and addressed with meaningful consequences."

The big picture: Bowser joins Xbox's Phil Spencer and PlayStation's Jim Ryan in reassuring employees internally that they find Activision Blizzard's behavior unacceptable.

  • However, it's still unclear what action these companies will take or what conversations are being conducted among the industry giants.

Elsewhere: Activision Blizzard's board of directors announced it is forming a "Workplace Responsibility Committee," led by two members of that board.

  • That committee will "oversee the Company’s progress in successfully implementing its new policies, procedures, and commitments to improve workplace culture and eliminate all forms of harassment and discrimination."
  • The company also will add "a new, diverse director to the Board."

Between the lines: Activision Blizzard is still in damage control mode after the Wall Street Journal's damning report that CEO Bobby Kotick was both aware of harassment and abuse allegations, and has a history of his own.

  • WSJ reports that Kotick would consider stepping down if the company's ongoing issues cannot be fixed "with speed."
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