Xbox head ‘evaluating’ relationship with Activision Blizzard in light of report

Xbox Phil Spencer

Xbox’s Phil Spencer is making ‘ongoing proactive adjustments’

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox at Microsoft, has responded to this week’s report on Activision Blizzard and its CEO, Bobby Kotick. A new Bloomberg report says that Spencer is “evaluating all aspects” of their relationship with Activision Blizzard and “making ongoing proactive adjustments.”

An email sent to staff and seen by Bloomberg said Spencer and his gaming leadership team are “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at the video game publisher. It’s similar to another statement obtained by Bloomberg from PlayStation chief Jim Ryan, although it sounds like Spencer is also discussing possible actions Xbox could take in its relationship with Activision Blizzard.

“This type of behavior has no place in our industry,” said Spencer.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson provided a response to Bloomberg, saying the company “respects all feedback from our valued partners ” and that it is “committed to the work of ensuring our culture and workplace are safe, diverse, and inclusive.”

IGN reached out to Spencer to verify the report, and received an additional comment from the Xbox head:

“I personally have strong values for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox. This is not a destination but a journey that we will always be on. The leadership at Xbox and Microsoft stand by our teams and support them in building a safer environment for all.”

Spencer reportedly referred to the Wall Street Journal report filed earlier this week, alleging that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was aware of sexual misconduct at the company for years. While the Board of Directors has issued a statement saying they remain confident in Kotick’s leadership, others have called for the removal of Kotick as CEO, including a shareholder group and a number of Activision Blizzard employees.

Today, hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees signed an open petition calling for the removal of Kotick. Activision Blizzard workers also staged a walkout earlier this week over the report. And all of this arrives after a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging harassment, discrimination, and a toxic workplace culture at the company.

Eric Van Allen