Ubisoft top executives sent on leave, fired after mounting allegations of sexual harassment

Over three dozen current, former employees claim that past complaints haven’t surfaced, harassment has been ongoing for years.

Over the past few weeks, Paris-based gaming firm Ubisoft has been under fire from over a dozen people due to public claims of sexual harassment and abuse against its employees. The wave of allegations comes in light of the broader #MeToo movement making its way through the game industry. While Ubisoft isn't the only target of these recent sexual harassment claims, it has been the most frequently flagged in the gaming industry.

Over three dozen current and former Ubisoft employees said that the claims, along with many incidents that haven’t surfaced, have been ongoing in the company for years, according to a wide-ranging Bloomberg Business report. Ubisoft, they said, took action in some cases but ignored, mishandled, or undermined most sexual harassment complaints against its staff.

Much of the harassment claims were directed at the company's executives, the report added.

Ubisoft. Image: Reuters

Ubisoft. Image: Reuters

The group's Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoet, Yannis Mallat - Managing Director of its Canadian studios and Cécile Cornet - global head of Human Resources resigned from their positions soon after the allegations began to surface. Product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie and associate public relations director Stone Chin, were among those accused of "predatory behaviour," in a report by Gamasutra.

On 13 July, The Star was reported that Maxime Béland, Vice President editorial in Toronto resigned and Paris' Vice President of editorial and creative services Tommy François was placed on disciplinary leave. Ubisoft responded by saying it was "deeply concerned" about the accusations.

On 3 July, the company's CEO Yves Guillemot said Ubisoft had launched a series of investigations led by "independent third parties" into sexual misconduct at the company. Several staff departures followed, as more senior officials were let go and sent on leave citing breaches of the company's Code of Conduct.

"This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviours are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised," he said. Guillemot is also taking over the vacant creative leadership role in the company, promising "a complete overhaul of the way in which the creative teams collaborate."

In an official statement from Ubisoft on 26 June, they claimed to be "auditing...existing policies, processes, and systems to understand where these have broken down, and to ensure [it] can better prevent, detect, and punish inappropriate behavior."

The company is yet to publicly share any information from the ongoing investigation.

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