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Former Ubisoft employees arrested amid sexual misconduct allegations

In this post:

  • Former employees of Ubisoft have been arrested in connection to sexual misconduct allegations.
  • Work culture and the gaming industry.

In a significant development, five former Ubisoft employees have been taken into police custody this week due to allegations of sexual harassment and assault. These allegations stem from incidents that reportedly occurred at the renowned game studio and its corporate events over three years ago. The news was first reported by the French newspaper Libération. Three of the former employees were brought in for questioning on Tuesday, while the remaining two were taken into custody on Wednesday, as reported by Libération.

Police take three former Ubisoft employees into custody

Among those questioned by French police were the former Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët, who left the studio in 2020, and former Editorial Vice President Tommy François. Tommy François faced allegations of sexual harassment and assault during his tenure at the firm. Shockingly, it’s reported that victims of such incidents were advised by the company’s Human Resources department to either accept the behavior as a part of the work environment or leave the company. The allegations against François date back to 2015, when he was accused of forcibly attempting to kiss an employee during a company event.

The victim’s distress and subsequent departure were dismissed by Ubisoft representatives, who allegedly considered the incident to be humorous and common. Serge Hascoët, in his role as a high-ranking executive, has been accused of knowingly allowing such behavior to persist at Ubisoft. In 2020, a French outlet reported that he was even admired by some within the studio for alleged misogyny, homophobia, and a toxic management style. These detentions are part of an ongoing and wider French investigation into Ubisoft that commenced in 2021.

Work culture and the gaming industry

French authorities have reportedly interviewed approximately 50 current and former Ubisoft employees as part of their inquiry into the game studio. Ubisoft, like Blizzard, has faced criticism for fostering a “boy’s club” culture. A lawyer representing the plaintiffs in this case, which includes the French game workers’ union Solidaires Informatique and two individuals who reported harassment, described Ubisoft as having a “schoolboy atmosphere.” They further alleged that women at the company were subjected to inappropriate behavior at work, including sexual gestures, and were physically pinned to the ground or against office walls at night.

Ubisoft is a prominent publisher in the gaming industry, known for popular franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, and Far Cry. In addition to its traditional gaming ventures, Ubisoft has ventured into the world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), serves as a Cronos blockchain validator, and is actively developing its blockchain game titled “Champions Tactics” on the Oasys platform. As the investigation continues, it remains to be seen what further actions will be taken and how this will impact Ubisoft’s reputation within the gaming community.

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