Why #HoldUbisoftAccountable Is Trending Right Now

A new report in a French magazine lays out all the ways Ubisoft hasn’t changed since its sexual assault and harassment reckoning last year.
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Early last year, allegations of physical and sexual harassment rocked Ubisoft and forced the company to face harsh truths about its culture and toxic leadership. According to a May 5 report in the French magazine Le Télégramme, the company hasn’t made much progress. Now fans are taking to social media to demand that the company be held accountable.

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Last year’s allegations against Ubisoft weren’t limited to one person or one department. According to reports and interviews with current and former employees, Ubisoft was a toxic workplace where managers demeaned women and sometimes physically abused employees. Then Vice President Maxime Beland resigned from the company after allegations that he had choked a female employee at a launch party for Far Cry 4.

According to the report in Le Télégramme, HR director Cécile Cornet stepped down in July of 2020 but didn’t leave the company until recently. Cornet was replaced by Anika Grant, a three year veteran of Uber. One employee told Le Télégramme that many of the HR personnel who oversaw Ubisoft’s toxic workplace remain in their positions and that they don’t "expect anything to come out of these appointments.”

Another source in Canada told Le Télégramme that “nothing has changed” in Ubisoft's Canada offices since Christophe Derennes took over for Yannis Mallat. Mallat faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Derennes is the cousin of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.

Fans are disappointed and angry. Ubisoft is a huge company that produces multiple big budget video game franchises like Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed, and Far Cry. Calls for action against the company have gotten #holdubisofaccountable trending on Twitter. YouTuber LazerzZ released a video covering the topic and calling for a boycott. It has gained almost 25,000 views since it was posted six hours ago.

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“My stance is to no longer buy products from Ubisoft,” he said in the video. “And if there’s one thing to take away form this video I hope it’s that you no longer do as well.”

The Codex Network, a fan site that catalogues the intricate lore of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, released a statement demanding change from Ubisoft. “Many of us ‘just want to play games,’ and that is alright, but I urge you to question your stand. Our beloved games are created by people like you and, and they deserve to be able to pursue their passion in a healthy environment full of dignity, respect, and compassion,” The Codex Network said in its statement. “We demand change, not mere marketing tactics and we stand together and hope you stand by us, different yet indivisible. One hidden blade against injustice.”

“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,” Ubisoft told Waypoint in an email.

Ubisoft’s email contained a detailed list of steps it had taken to improve its workplace, including anonymous reporting tools, a revamped training process, and investigations into misconduct by external investigators.

“These concrete actions demonstrate the profound changes that have taken place at every level of the company,” Ubisoft said. “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.”

Update 5/20/21: This story has been updated with comment from Ubisoft.