Phil Spencer says “conversations” with Activision Blizzard workers needed amid lawsuit
Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has addressed the workplace allegations aimed at the company they are buying out.
Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard for a reported $69 billion is the most expensive of its kind in gaming history. But after a year of severe allegations against Activision Blizzard over its workplace standards, it’s also one of the most monitored.
Many see this as an opportunity for Microsoft to correct potential mistakes. However, with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick remaining and employees wanting to unionize, Microsoft has acquired a heavily scrutinized undertaking.
In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Spencer addresses Activision’s workplace “incidents” and touches on Microsoft’s approach.
Microsoft will have conversations with Activision workers
During the interview, Spencer admitted that he wasn’t an expert on unionization. Having worked for Microsoft for 33 years, a company that is not unionized, Spencer doesn’t have personal experience in a union environment.
When asked how Spencer felt about Activision workers wanting to unionize, he stated: “I’m not going to try to come across as an expert on this, but I’ll say we’ll be having conversations about what empowers them to do their best work, which as you can imagine in a creative industry, is the most important thing for us.”
He revealed the acquisition had been in the works since December 2021. During this time, Spencer states: “We spent time with the Activision team looking at the incidents, looking at employee polls and then had a good discussion with them about their plan, both the progress they’ve been making and what their plan was.”
The “incidents” Spencer is referring to were allegations brought to light over the course of 2021. Activision employees claimed they were sexually harassed, demoted for reporting fellow employees, and even had their breast milk stolen, among many other allegations. Some staff were accused of “shredding” documents related to the lawsuit, too.
In November 2021, Phil Spencer publicly claimed he was “deeply trouble by the horrific events and actions” regarding allegations made in the lawsuit against Activision.
He also stated that Xbox would be evaluating its relationship with Activision and making adjustments. At that time, no one would have guessed the “proactive adjustment” would be acquiring the company.
In the Washington Post interview, Spencer clarifies that, while he wants to work with Activision employees, Microsoft will not be involved in Activision’s legal battle.