- Ubisoft, one of the world’s biggest video game companies, has been rocked by accusations of sexual assault and harassment leveled against senior staff.
- CEO Yves Guillemot wrote to all employees on June 27, promising to “personally follow” each reported case.
- His letter came after an all-staff email from the company’s chief talent & communications officer said law firms had launched “several investigations” into the allegations.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Yves Guillemot, CEO of video games giant Ubisoft, has promised to “personally follow” every report of sexual harassment at the company, following a series of allegations leveled at senior staff.
The company has been rocked by claims of sexual harassment as well as assault by senior employees.
On June 22, community manager Andrien Gbinigie was accused of rape. He denied the allegations in a Medium post, which has since been removed by the website. Bloomberg reported on June 27 that Ubisoft placed some members of staff, including executives Tommy François and Maxime Béland, on administrative leave, quoting “people familiar with the matter.” Both François and Béland were accused of sexual harassment in anonymized accounts shared on Twitter (Ubisoft told Bloomberg the cases were under investigation but declined to comment further).
In an all-staff email on June 27, just before 1 am CEST (the company is headquartered in Paris), Cécile Cornet, Ubisoft’s chief talent & communications officer, said law firms Rubin Thomlinson LLP and Reddock Law Group have already launched “several investigations”, and that more are likely. She did not say who is under investigation. Guillemot replied seven minutes later.
In his email, obtained by Business Insider, Guillemot said he was “profoundly affected” by what he read on Ubisoft’s internal messaging site, Mana. A current Ubisoft employee told Business Insider that staff has used Mana to discuss allegations and voice their mistrust of the company’s HR department.
Guillemot promised staff that he will “personally follow each of the situations that have been reported.”
“These actions are in total contradiction with our values and with what I want for Ubisoft. The company we hold dear must offer a welcoming and respectful environment, allowing everyone to flourish. I will not accept anything less,” he continued.
Guillemot said he has set up a “multidisciplinary working group,” which will create better “tools to detect, report and resolve any incident” impartially. This group, supported by an “external partner,” will organize focus groups for staff, and Guillemot will “regularly participate” in these meetings, he said.
Guillemot also noted that he has gathered all of his direct reports to address this subject along with employee feedback and that the company will review “all of our systems so that these types of situations cannot happen again,” he said. He will host a group call with all Ubisoft’s managing directors on Monday, June 28, to “discuss these subjects in more detail,” he said.
In Cornet’s original email, which was reviewed by Business Insider, the executive called the allegations against staff “devastating.”
“I deeply regret that we have not managed to deliver on creating a healthy and safe environment for all our team members,” she said.
Ubisoft also issued a statement on June 25, apologizing to “everyone affected” by the allegations.
“We are dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment for our teams, players, and communities,” the statement read. “It is clear we have fallen short of this in the past. We must do better.”
Alongside the law firm investigations, which Cornet said typically take between two weeks and two months, the company plans to set up anonymized reporting by the end of July, and is creating new roles “dedicated to diversity and inclusion.”
Ubisoft will also run “specific training sessions on harassment, sexism, and all forms of discrimination in the workplace,” Cornet said. Managers and HR managers face mandatory training.
You can read Guillemot’s full letter below:
I am profoundly affected by what I have been reading the past few days on Mana. I would like to express my deep solidarity to all those who have been directly hurt and assure you that I will personally follow each of the situations that have been reported.
These actions are in total contradiction with our values and with what I want for Ubisoft. The company we hold dear must offer a welcoming and respectful environment, allowing everyone to flourish. I will not accept anything less.
I have gathered all of my direct reports to address this subject and your feedback. I would like us to thoroughly review all of our systems so that these types of situations cannot happen again. In addition to the first actions that Cécile has just shared with you, I’ve asked for a multidisciplinary working group to be set up across the company to take up these subjects. In particular, this group will have to come up with better solutions and tools to detect, report and resolve any incident or serious problem without delay and in an impartial manner. To inform their proposals, this working group, aided by an external partner, will start by organizing focus group meetings to hear from you and get your points of view. I will regularly participate in these sharing sessions.
I am organizing a call on Monday with all your Managing Directors to discuss these subjects in more detail and to ask them for their full involvement and exemplarity on these important issues. I will come back to you soon with additional updates, and I want to say again that I am committed to safeguarding for each and every one of you a work environment of which we can be proud.
I am here to listen to you and am at your disposal via email or Teams if you wish to contact me personally.
If you have been sexually assaulted, harassed, or otherwise harmed by anyone in the video games industry, we want to hear from you. Contact Business Insider associate editor Samuel Horti via encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801504020), encrypted email ([email protected]), standard email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@SamuelHorti).