The movement comes after allegations of workplace misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse circulated on social media, along with a shocking report published by french newspaper Libération.
Today the company announced the resignations of three executives who were claimed to have contributed its culture of abuse. These staff members include Yannis Mallat (CEO of Ubisoft Canadian Studios), Cécile Cornet (Global Head of HR), and most notably Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët.
Hascoët was the focus of Libération’s report, being accused of misogyny, homophobia, and perpetuating a toxic work environment. Ubisoft co-founder and CEO Yves Guillemot will be taking this position interim while the search for a replacement is underway.
Journalist Jason Schreier claims that Hascoet’s departure is the most controversial; being the company’s CCO, he had the power to greenlight or cancel anything, and that “many Ubisoft employees believed he was too powerful and close to the CEO to ever be ousted, no matter how many allegations emerged.”
Schreier also claims that Guillemot sent out an internal memo to employees shortly after the news broke, saying that he will “personally oversee a complete overhaul” of Ubisoft’s Editorial team (an alleged abuser was on this team and has been criticized for a lack of diversity) and that his goal is to “create an inclusive and open culture that embraces more diverse and multidisciplinary expertise”
Ubisoft has been under fire over the past month, when the games industry underwent a reckoning with high-profile staff members and companies such as Electronic Arts and Insomniac Games accused of enabling abuse and sweeping complaints under the rug. In particular, multiple high-profile staff members at Ubisoft have been accused of misconduct ranging from workplace harassment to infidelity and sexual assault. Most of the Ubisoft team members named have been placed on leave, let go, or resigned pending internal investigations.
Libération’s report published on Friday echoed some of the same sentiments, with current and former employees alleging that Ubisoft’s HR department didn’t deal with reports related to these issues properly and that they were complicit in contributing to its toxic culture. One of the more concerning details in the report was that Ubisoft Montreal’s Head of HR threatened to resign along with half of his team unless Guillemot put out a statement defending them and disregarding any responsibility for what employees have experienced.
A thread of translated quotes from the article can be found below. (Note: the thread contains content some readers may find uncomfortable)
In a statement released by Ubisoft on June 25th, the company publicly apologized for “falling short” of fostering an inclusive and safe environment for their employees and players. In an internal email written by Guillemot and made public last week, many changes were noted in order to address toxicity and misconduct issues, such as appointing a Head of Workplace Culture and Head of Diversity & Inclusion as well as reworking internal reporting procedures.
Featured image courtesy of Ubisoft.