Ubisoft: the controversy does not subside following the response against harassment

Ubisoft: the controversy does not subside following the response against harassment


In recent days, Ubisoft executives have seen an open letter delivered by former developers and employees of the company, regarding cases of harassment that have occurred in the past at the headquarters of the French Canadian publisher and developer. Yves Guillemot's response to that letter, which asked to remove all molesters and anyone who has had inappropriate behavior towards the staff, however, turned out to be decidedly weak, at least according to the signatories of the aforementioned letter.

Yves Guillemot, founder and head of Ubisoft, responded to the open letter launched precisely by those who were involved in the front line in cases of harassment at work with tones deemed insufficient. The text of the email sent by the CEO of the company contains some answers that we could define as "public relations" and which according to the signatories of the letter do not respond adequately to the problems that have arisen over the past year. A situation certainly quite serious, also considering the events that have occurred in Activision Blizzard in recent weeks and in some ways Guillemot's responses recall quite well the line of Bobby Kotic and some managers of the Call of Duty publisher.

“We are aware that the company has managed to make some improvements and we are happy to know that Yves and the leadership team agree that there is still a lot to do. Despite this, Ubisoft will continue to protect and promote known abusers and their allies, ”the group told GamesIndustry.biz. “We ask Ubisoft not to continue on this path”, reads the reply given to the British colleagues.

The moment is not the best in the video game industry. If on the one hand we have an excellent state of health, the cases in Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard are certainly warnings that even in a fairly young sector there are repeated and criminal behaviors towards minorities and beyond. The hope, of course, is that certain behaviors will be eradicated at their roots, transforming these companies step by step into safer islands. For everyone.

Ubisoft CEO responds to staffs’ open letter demanding change in industry

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has responded to an open letter signed by more than 500 current and former Ubisoft employees that not only expressed solidarity with the Activision Blizzard walkout this week (July 28) but called for industry-wide change against harassment and abusive behaviour.

The letter also criticised Ubisoft for not doing enough in the wake of allegations made against the company last year over abuse and sexual harassment.

“We have stood by and watched as you only fired the most public offenders,” the letter had read. “You let the rest either resign or worse, promoted them, moved them from studio to studio, team to team, giving them second chance after second chance with no repercussions. This cycle needs to stop.”

In a company-wide email sent yesterday (July 29), shared by Axios’ Stephen Totilo, Guillemot wrote that he is committed to creating “real and lasting change” at Ubisoft, stressing that the leadership team had read the letter and that they “take the issues it raises seriously”.

He continued by saying that the company has made “important progress” in the past year.

“Since last summer we have implemented new anonymous reporting tools, revamped our HR processes including new global policies to prevent and manage discrimination, retaliation, harassment, installed a new code of conduct, rolled out mandatory training, established a content review group and are bringing in new leadership across major studios, HR, D&I [Diversity & Inclusion), Editorial and Production.”

Guillemot conceded that there was still more to be done. It however doesn’t address how several men who had been accused of abuse have remained in lead roles at Ubisoft, as was the case for Assassin’s Creed Infinity.

The CEO nonetheless cited initiatives like over 300 “listening sessions” with more than 1,500 Ubisoft team members, a company-wide survey, and global audit. He also promises more updates in Q3, including next steps on the Values Project, D&I, and an HR roadmap, sounding all too much phrases from a game update.

Elsewhere, Valve has defended its 30 per cent cut of Steam sales in response to a lawsuit from developer Wolfire, alleging that its cut is the “industry standard”.