PlayStation chief criticises Activision's response to harassment allegations

Sony's Jim Ryan speaking on a stage.
(Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This week has seen a number of shocking new allegations about Activision Blizzard's workplace culture. They include an historical incident where Bobby Kotick told an assistant he'd have her killed, allegations that senior employees facing harassment allegations got preferential treatment, and that Blizzard co-head Jen Oneal (who is leaving at the end of the year) is paid less than her male counterpart Mike Ybarra. This all comes amidst multiple legal battles for the publisher involving workplace harassment.

President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan has clearly been watching with some distaste, and an internal email circulated to Sony employees has found its way into Bloomberg's hands. The email links to the Wall Street Journal report that broke these new claims before saying that Ryan and PlayStation's senior leadership are "disheartened and frankly stunned" Actvision Blizzard "has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment."

"We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article. We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation."

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Ryan went on to say that Sony Interactive Entertainment "is committed to ensuring our community of developers and gamers feel safe and respected, and providing a secure work environment for every employee."

Since this week's allegations came to light, pressure has been mounting on Activision CEO Bobby Kotick to resign. A small group of shareholders called for his resignation on Wednesday, while some Activision employees staged a walkout protest. As arguably the key figure in Activision's rise, Kotick will not be easily dislodged. But the pressure is mounting, and may become impossible to resist.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."