French police have recently taken into custody five former executives of Ubisoft, a renowned video game company, following a lengthy investigation that was initiated in 2021. The investigation stemmed from numerous complaints and allegations of sexual assault and harassment that arose within the company. Key figures among those arrested include Serge Hascoët, the former chief creative officer of Ubisoft, and Tommy François, the former vice president of editorial and creative services (GamesIndustry.biz).
The information regarding these arrests came to light after a report by French newspaper Libération revealed that three former Ubisoft executives were arrested yesterday, with two more being apprehended today (GamesIndustry.biz).
During the summer of 2020, Ubisoft faced a critical moment as a series of reports emerged highlighting instances of abuse, misconduct, and abuse of power within the company. In response to these allegations, several executives and managers, including Tommy François, were terminated from their positions. Serge Hascoët, on the other hand, chose to resign voluntarily (GamesIndustry.biz).
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot took charge of leading the company’s investigations during this crucial period. In a subsequent move, he publicly disclosed the findings of an internal employee survey. This survey revealed that over 25 percent of Ubisoft employees had either personally experienced or witnessed instances of misconduct at the workplace. It was noted that a significant number of individuals who reported misconduct were either non-binary or women, although male employees also voiced concerns about witnessing inappropriate behavior (GamesIndustry.biz).
Although several high-ranking executives, including Tommy François, Ashraf Ismail, and Maxime Beland, were promptly dismissed, and others like Serge Hascoët voluntarily stepped down, a report published in 2021 indicated that many Ubisoft employees were dissatisfied with the company’s handling of the “Me Too” movement (GamesIndustry.biz).
During the summer of 2021, the Paris-based Solidaires Informatique union, along with two victims, filed complaints with the police, leading to the recent arrests of Tommy François, Serge Hascoët, and three other individuals. The case is currently being handled by the Bobigny district of Paris (GamesIndustry.biz).
According to the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Maude Beckers, the underlying issue extends beyond individual behavior and sheds light on a broader systemic problem of sexual violence within Ubisoft. In response to the allegations, a Ubisoft spokesperson stated that the company has no knowledge of the specifics and is unable to provide further comment (GamesIndustry.biz).
Game Informer will continue to update this story as more information becomes available regarding this ongoing case (GamesIndustry.biz).
[Source: Libération via GamesIndustry.biz]