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Game Workers Unite Wants Activision Blizzard to Fire Its CEO

Grassroots labor organization Game Workers Unite is calling on Activision Blizzard to fire its CEO, Bobby Kotick, following massive layoffs at the video game publisher earlier this week.

“Upending 800 workers’ lives while raking in millions in bonuses for you and your c-suite buddies isn’t leadership, it’s theft,” Game Workers Unite said on Twitter Wednesday. “We, the workers of Activision and their friends, have had enough. Join us in saying that it’s time to #FireBobbyKotick.”

Activision Blizzard announced on Tuesday it’s laying off approximately 775 workers, calling the move a “de-prioritizing of initiatives that didn’t meet expectations.” It plans to refocus on core first-party franchises like “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush,” and “Overwatch.”

But, the publisher also reported record revenues during fiscal 2018. Net revenue last quarter was $2.38 billion, which beat the company’s previous outlook of $2.24 billion. Net income for the year was $1.8 billion, an increase compared to the $273 million it reported for 2017, while net revenue was $7.5 billion, up from $7.02 billion in 2017.

That money, along with the reported $30 million Bobby Kotick makes in a year as CEO, comes from the labor of Activision Blizzard employees, Game Workers Unite said.

“It’s disgusting to hear Kotick boasting about record revenue for the company then announcing an 8% staffing cut in the next breath,” it said. “If we divided Kotick’s obscene annual pay (one the highest paid CEOs in the world), it alone could pay full salaries for all 800 laid off workers.”

The organization also took issue with Activision Blizzard’s recent decision to award its new chief financial officer, Dennis Durkin, a $15 million bonus for taking the job. Durkin served as CFO for five years until May 2017, when he became chief corporate officer, according to Bloomberg. He returned to the role after Spencer Neumann left the publisher to join Netflix.

“Activision, under Kotick’s leadership, gave a $15 million dollar bonus to the CFO just for changing his job title, then they have the gall to turn around and lay off 800 workers just days later? #FireBobbyKotick,” Game Workers Unite said.

“The cycle of layoffs continue to derail our industry because of the prioritization of shareholder profits over workers lives and quality game development,” it added. “If you want to help change the industry for the better, we encourage you to get involved today.”

Variety contacted Activision Blizzard for comment, but it did not immediately respond.

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