Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Naomi Osaka is back in a Grand Slam, women in menopause may call it quits, and the Activision Blizzard saga continues. Have a great Tuesday.
– Dozens of bad actors. One of the biggest blockbuster stories of 2021 was the Wall Street Journal‘s reporting that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had for years known about sexual misconduct allegations—including rape—at the video game giant and had hid them from the company’s board.
As Kristen wrote at the time, the kind of behavior detailed in the reporting was stomach-churning and the idea that Kotick could still hang on to his job—even after being implicated himself by an assistant who accused him of threatening to have her killed—was “infuriating.” A company spokeswoman said Kotick wouldn’t have been informed about every report of misconduct, “nor would he reasonably be expected to have been updated on all personnel issues.” And he “regrets” the alleged incident with his assistant.
Kotick has faced calls to step down, including from nearly a fifth of Activision’s 10,000 employees who signed a petition that he resign. He has said would consider leaving his post if he can’t quickly fix Activision’s cultural crisis.
Now, two pieces of news suggest this story is far from over.
First, the Journal reported that Activision is carrying out a clean-up effort—an enormous one at that. The company has pushed out 37 employees and disciplined 44 more after investigations into bad behavior. The paper reports that the company has received some 700 employee complaints about misconduct and other concerns since July, though Activision disputes that figure.
Those numbers are only public because of the Journal’s reporting. According to the the WSJ report, the company was supposed to disclose a summary of its personnel actions before the holidays, but Kotick put off its release because it would make the company’s crisis seem even worse. Activision disputes that account. “Our focus is making sure we have accurate data and analysis to share,” a spokeswoman said. Any delay tactics by Kotick would seem to conflict with his effort to address Activision’s cultural problems expeditiously and make even that big number of exits—37—one too few.
Then, just moments ago, the second bombshell: Microsoft announced it was buying Activision Blizzard for roughly $70 billion. Microsoft’s press release states Kotick will stay on as Activision CEO after the acquisition.
The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Claire Zillman.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Back on the court. Amid all the Novak Djokovic news at the Australian Open, you might have missed Naomi Osaka's return to the Grand Slam court. The tennis star who, citing her mental health, took a break from tennis after last year's U.S. Open, is back with a new perspective on competition. "I can walk off the court knowing that, even if I lost, I tried as hard as I could," she says. She won her opening match in straight sets. Washington Post
- Under pressure. An activist investor is urging Kohl's, led by CEO Michelle Gass, to boost its lagging stock price by shaking up its board. Otherwise, says Macellum Advisors, the $7 billion department store should explore a sale. Kohl's says it's always looking for ways to maximize its share price and points to its 2021 performance as proof that its current strategy is working. Wall Street Journal
- Entering the race. Christine Taubira was the first Black woman to run for president in France in 2002. The social justice advocate from the South American territory of French Guiana is entering the race again this year. Amid the crowded field, she's vowing to fight the “discourse of hate” that has plagued the presidential campaign so far and unite France's fractured left wing. Associated Press
- Ousted from office. The University of Michigan board on Saturday fired president Mark Schlissel after investigating an alleged sexual affair between Schlissel and a female employee and determining that he'd engaged in inappropriate interactions with the woman. Mary Sue Coleman, Schlissel’s predecessor, will replace him on an interim basis. Washington Post
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- No honeymoon here. There's been no honeymoon period for Boston's new mayor Michelle Wu. She's been slammed by overlapping crises: a COVID surge, strained schools, anti-vaccine protests, and an urgent need to help the city's homeless. “Every week so far has been a big week,” she says. Boston Globe
- Calling it quits. A new U.K. study finds that almost a fifth of women going through menopause plan to quit their jobs, a reflection of how few resources workplaces provide to female employees at this stage of their lives. Bloomberg
- 'A TV gal.' A TV special that was supposed to celebrate Betty White's 100th birthday has become a tribute to the late actress instead. “Betty White: A Celebration” played at 1,500 theaters across the U.S. yesterday; it featured her last on-camera appearance, a thank-you to fans recorded 11 days before she died. Wall Street Journal
ON MY RADAR
Mommy is going away for a while New York Times
It is the workplace, not women’s confidence, that needs to be fixed Financial Times
Marianne Williamson: A politico or apolitical? New York Times
Christina Ricci knew the spiky roles were coming New Yorker
"As you honor my father today, please remember and honor my mother, as well."
- Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King, on her mother Coretta Scott's contributions.
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