Workers for Santa Monica-based video game company Activision Blizzard ramped up calls Tuesday for the ouster of CEO Bobby Kotick following a report that he was long aware of allegations of sexual misconduct at the company.

Kotick has denied any wrongdoing, and the company’s board of directors issued a statement Tuesday defending his work.

“The Activision Blizzard board remains committed to the goal of making Activision Blizzard the most welcoming and inclusive company in the industry,” according to the statement. “Under Bobby Kotick’s leadership the company is already implementing industry-leading changes including a zero-tolerance harassment policy, a dedication to achieving significant increases to the percentages of women and non-binary people in our workforce and significant internal and external investments to accelerate opportunities for diverse talent. The board remains confident that Bobby Kotick appropriately addressed workplace issues brought to his attention.”

The board stated that it “remains confident in Bobby Kotick’s leadership, commitment and ability to achieve these goals.”

Workers staged a walkout at Activision sites on Tuesday in response to a report by The Wall Street Journal that found Kotick was aware of sex-misconduct claims dating back to 2016 and 2017 but failed to report them to the board. The Journal story also referenced various settlements, including some in which Kotick was personally accused of wrongdoing.

According to the Journal, in one of those cases, the co-leader of the company’s lucrative “Call of Duty” studio was accused of harassment in 2017, and while an internal probe recommended that he be fired, Kotick allegedly intervened to keep him in the job.

On Tuesday morning, and employee group known as the ABK Workers Alliance wrote on Twitter: “We have instituted our own zero-tolerance policy. We will not be silenced until Bobby Kotick has been replaced as CEO, and continue to hold our original demand for a third-party review by an employee-chosen source.”

Following the company board’s statement in support of Kotick, the workers tweeted, “This is unacceptable. We are more than a revenue machine. We are people, and it is clear that Bobby Kotick is not conducive to the health and safety of any human element.”

Kotick also defended himself Tuesday, releasing a video message to employees in which he says the WSJ story “paints an inaccurate and misleading view of our company, of my personally and my leadership.”

In the video, he says “anyone who doubts my conviction to be the most welcoming, inclusive workplace doesn’t really appreciate how important this is to me.”

“Creativity and inspiration thrives best in a safe, welcoming, respectful environment,” Kotick said. “There is no substitute for that. And staying true to our values, without exceptions, is the best way to retain our talent and to attract the new talent we need to achieve our great potential. As I have made clear, we are moving forward with a new zero tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior — and zero means zero. Any reprehensible conduct is simply unacceptable.”

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