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Bobby Kotick, The “Hero” Of Legal Battles – Once Even Got Sued By A Ska Band!

A recent Washington Post article details Bobby Kotick’s litigious past dating back to the beginning of his career…

 

 

Before the recent controversies surrounding the workplace culture at Activision, Call of Duty and Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick‘s first company, Arktronics, wanted to produce a device that would make the Apple II computer easier to use for the non-technical. Kotick and his business partners asked their employees to give up part of their pay in exchange for stock options, and these options and the company’s work as a whole eventually became worthless because of the subsequent development of Apple products.

Arktronics employees sued Bobby Kotick in 1985 for cheating them out of their wages. Arktronics and the employees eventually settled, but Kotick and Arktronics delayed payment for years, and some former employees claimed they never received their share of the settlement.

This anecdote was the first in a series of similar stories that appeared in a Washington Post report, tracing Kotick’s tense legal battles with several contractors who worked on his Beverly Hills home, former employees…

… and even the band No Doubt, who sued him for using their likeness in the 2009 Band Hero game.

Kotick said in an email to one of the band’s lawyers, who previously represented him, “Do you understand that this will prevent you from ever doing any business with Activision, Universal Music or ANY Vivendi company anywhere in the world?”

One particularly glaring case involves a former flight attendant on Bobby Kotick’s private jet. In his lawsuit against the driver, he alleged that the CEO fired him for complaining about sexual harassment of another employee at work. In the following case, Kotick’s lawyers used brutal, even cruel tactics against the plaintiff, among others:

“After the flight attendant mentioned during a deposition that she had an abortion, Kotick’s attorneys argued in court filings that her ex-boyfriend should have to answer questions about it during a deposition, and also that they should be able to introduce evidence of the abortion at trial. The procedure may have ‘distracted [her] from properly performing her job duties’ or caused the ’emotional distress’ she was now blaming on her firing, Kotick’s lawyer argued in a legal filing.”

Bobby Kotick has had a very long and successful career at Activision Blizzard despite his well-documented legal problems. Even though a significant part of the reason for the Microsoft acquisition was precisely the failure to create a safe working environment and the damage to the company’s reputation, management has continued to stand by him publicly. The Washington Post’s story is full of anecdotes that make straightforward how profitable – and powerful – its tactics have been over three decades at Activision.

A former colleague of Bobby Kotick’s claimed to have loved the saying, “The one who has the most things when they die, wins.” Kotick’s spokesman told The Washington Post that the phrase was a quote from a mutual friend’s sweater and that “Bobby denies he believed it then or now.”

Bobby Kotick is expected to leave Activision-Blizzard next year after the completion of the Microsoft acquisition, with the company’s shares currently valued at around $400 million.

Source: Washington Post

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