Phil Spencer is ‘evaluating Xbox’s relationship with Activision’

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has confirmed that he’s “evaluating” its relationship with Activision Blizzard following the company’s response to allegations about its CEO Bobby Kotick.

In an email sent to Xbox staff and seen by Bloomberg, Spencer stated that he and the leadership team were “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard.

Spencer stated in his email that “this type of behaviour has no place in our industry”, and that he was “evaluating all aspects of [Xbox’s] relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments”.

On Tuesday, a Wall Street Journal report alleged that Kotick was aware of multiple sexual misconduct allegations at Activision Blizzard, and also accused him of personally mistreating several female employees.

Activision Blizzard is currently facing multiple regulatory investigations over alleged sexual assaults and harassment of female employees, much of which has centred around World of Warcraft developer Blizzard.

However, the new Wall Street Journal report claims that instances of sexual assault and mistreatment have been widespread at the company, including at Call of Duty development studios Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games.

While Kotick reportedly told company directors and other executives that he was unaware of many of the allegations, the WSJ said it had received evidence to the contrary from various sources including interviews with former employees and internal Activision documents.

Kotick has also been accused of mistreating several female employees, including leaving a voicemail in 2006 in which he threatened to have an assistant killed.

Despite the report, Activision Blizzard reportedly told employees it had no evidence to support the claims, meaning its newly launched zero-tolerance policy on harassment can’t be applied to the company’s leader.

Activision Blizzard, its CEO and its board have faced a barrage of criticism in response to the WSJ report, including renewed calls for Kotick’s resignation.

On Wednesday it was claimed that Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Jim Ryan told PlayStation employees he was “disheartened and frankly stunned to read” that Activision “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,” he wrote in an email to staff (via Bloomberg). “We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”

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