Ubisoft had a rough year in 2020. Throughout the year, multiple reports surfaced regarding sexual harassment, toxic work environments and other unlawful allegations. However, it seems the developer has done very little to improve the toxic work culture. According to French publication Le Télégramme, while the company has attempted to fix the issues, the changes have had little impact on the workplace.
The report claims that many of the male workers who were at the heart of the sexual misconduct are still employed at Ubisoft. This includes Florent Castelnérac who runs the Ubisoft-owned Nadeo. Castelnérac was accused of sexual harassment by over a dozen employees. The report says that Ubisoft management are protecting him and his position at the company and his job will most likely remain unaffected by the allegations.
Another employee, Hugues Ricour who was the director at Ubisoft Singapore, was also accused of multiple sexual abuse allegations, remains at the company too. According to the situation at Ubisoft Canada, more sexual misconduct allegations were filed in 2020. Of which, many of them were sidelined by the end of the year. What’s more, Yves Guillemot’s cousin, Christophe Derennes, was employed at the branch and since he has started working there, “nothing has changed”.
According to the report, employees at various Ubisoft divisions were asked to put forward ideas to try and solve the crisis at the company. Many of these ideas involved hiring more women and promoting female employees to management roles. However, these ideas were not addressed by management. One thing Ubisoft did work on was changing its code of conduct. It now mentioned harassment as a “non-negotiable interdiction”. However, the new revision has not gone live at the company yet.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director Ashraf Ismail left the company in 2020 after sexual misconduct allegations.
The report claims that over 20,000 employees at Ubisoft attended a half-day training following the 2020 allegations. Managers attended longer, more advanced sessions focusing on accountability for possible sexual misconduct situations. According to a source, Ubisoft management wants to make this training a regular thing.
Ubisoft has spoken out about the sexual misconduct allegations and the lack of change at the company. They responded to the report by the French publication saying that over the past few months the company has implemented major changes to its organization.
“Over a period of several months, Ubisoft has implemented major changes across its organization, internal processes and procedures in order to guarantee a safe, inclusive and respectful working environment for all team members.
These concrete actions demonstrate the profound changes that have taken place at every level of the company. Additional initiatives are underway and are being rolled out over the coming months. We are committed to strengthening our culture and values in the long term, to help ensure every team member at Ubisoft is heard, respected and valued in the workplace.”