Last year, Ubisoft was the subject of numerous allegations of labor abuse, including physical assault and sexual harassment. Along with specific incidents, the company was accused of harboring a culture in which sexism, overwork and misconduct were normal. Several executives resigned as a result of the allegations, including Vice President Maxime Beland. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot promised "profound" changes to the company. A year later, several fans do not believe that Ubisoft has fulfilled that promise.
Doubt was caused in part by one recent report of the French newspaper Le Télégramme, which says that some employees do not consider Ubisoft to have changed fundamentally since last summer. The report was widely shared last week and fans gathered for a boycott on social media under the banner #HoldUbisoftAccountable.
Without making direct reference to the Télégramme report or hashtag, Ubisoft responded today in a statement of Guillemot which summarizes what the company has done since last year’s resignations. Guillemot claims that Ubisoft has established several ways for employees to report misconduct, including anonymity, to put all employees in training against harassment, to assess their work culture through questionnaires and discussion groups, and to include a third party to audit their human resources practices. Ubisoft has also created a “clearer, more comprehensive and more actionable” code of conduct, Guillemot writes, which all employees will need to sign.
Guillemot also highlights the new leaders at Ubisoft. Shortly after the complaints were filed, the director of innovation lab projects, Lidwine Sauer, was appointed to a new role as head of workplace culture. In February this year, Raashi Sikka was hired as the new vice president of global diversity and inclusion, and in April, Anika Grant joined Ubisoft as the new head of human resources. Both Sikka and Grant previously held similar positions at Uber, where they faced a comparable situation following allegations of sexism and harassment made against the company in 2017. In 2019, Uber settled in with workers for 4 , $ 4 million after charging that it fostered "a culture of sexual harassment." and retaliation against people who complained about this harassment. "
"Considerable progress has been made and we will continue to work hard with the ambition of becoming an exemplary job in the technology industry," Guillemot wrote in a statement today.
The sources of Le Télégramme are associated with Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo, a union of gaming workers that, according to the newspaper, will initiate collective legal actions against Ubisoft. Union sources told Le Télégramme that they "do not expect anything" from these appointments and that the Canadian side of the business has not improved significantly since Christophe Derennes took over from Ubisoft Montréal after his resignation. by Yannis Mallat last year. Specifically, the source alleges that reports of harassment were "set aside" in December, but the document does not go into further detail about this claim.
The article is not like the 2020 exhibits that revealed a number of specific incidents; it is rather an overview of disappointment in cases of inaction or what sources say is insufficient action. The feeling that Ubisoft has not done enough was already present, however, and the report has acted like a spark. Following the release of the report, a former employee said his efforts to collaborate with the Ubisoft task force were "ceremonial."
I felt like we were ceremonial. Weeks, months passed and the same themes kept repeating themselves. So many solutions had to come from elsewhere. Whether someone older said "we're waiting for [x] to do it first," and whether we realize "we can't do [y] without [x] 's approval."May 18, 2021
#HoldUbisoftAccountable tended to Twitter as fans discussed the article and urged others to stop buying Ubisoft games. Guillemot's statement today has not changed the tone: a common feeling is that Guillemot himself was directly responsible for the culture that Ubisoft now says is changing, or indirectly responsible for negligence, and that he should resign as CEO. Guillemot co-founded Ubisoft with his siblings in the 1980s, and the family still controls the company.
Last week, Ubisoft sent the media a statement similar to the one released publicly today GamesIndustry.biz and others that "Ubisoft has implemented significant changes in its internal organization, processes, and procedures to ensure a safe, inclusive, and respectful work environment for all team members."