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Rumor Ubisoft: French newspaper attacks with stories of harassment, rape and sexual assault.

KyoShiRo330

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Don't really know if it has his place here or in off-topic, and haven't seen this posted
Source in French by Libération are behind a paywall. Still, here is a summary:



Longtime CCO Serge Hascoet, described by Bloomberg game industry reporter Jason Schreier as Ubisoft's "most powerful creative force" and "the man in charge of ALL of their games," is leaving the company effective immediately, Schreier confirmed. Ubisoft's global HR chief, Cecile Cornet, and Ubisoft Canada's managing director, Yannis Mallat, also announced their intentions to "step down" from their current roles, and while Mallat is leaving the company altogether, Cornet's future with Ubisoft is not yet clear

On June 25:

Following the accusations against Chris Avellone, languages are loosening and the number one editor in the crosshairs is Ubisoft. It started with Ubisoft Sofia (recounted here) and accusations were flowing from all sides on Twitter. We will not go into detail because it is pretty rough formwork and some things are more privacy.

But to sum up, Ubisoft layers like Maxime Beland, Tommy François and Alexandre Amancio are accused of abusive behavior and sexual harassment, even assault, often on the occasion of over-drunk parties. Worse still: the human resources department was generally aware and decided not to sanction the accused persons. Maxime Beland's wife was even working in the HR department at the time of the events ...

According to an anonymous source at Ubisoft, a message was sent to the internal forum of the box explaining that the allegations are taken seriously, that measures will be taken and that there will be external audits for the investigations. However, the employees replied that they do not trust HR, that they have repeatedly tried to raise these problems but without success and that there is a complete lack of transparency.


July 02:

The article by Erwan Cario and Marius Chapuis, which appeared on the front page of Liberation on July 02, begins with a questionable fact which must have made Ubisoft smile since they are qualified as "world number 3 in the sector". But the rest of the article must have had a completely different effect. Erwan and Marius interviewed current and former employees of Ubisoft Paris to understand what is going on within the very powerful editorial team that has life and death rights over the studio's projects.

Roughly speaking, it confirms everything that has been thrown on Twitter against Tommy François (VP of the editorial team) and a certain "MB". Libération also appoints their boss and chief creative officer of Ubisoft, Serge Hascoët, who does not seem too worried about the actions of his subordinates, and who would even participate in the sexist culture of offices.

The article also confirms that the human ressources protects studio managers from contempt for employees while trying to minimize story acts that thinking heads don't go elsewhere. An article coming this time from Gamasutra is just as dismaying and confirms that the human ressources department of the other studios is just as passive and accomplice. There is talk of giving gift cards to a victim to silence him at Ubisoft North Carolina...

Ubisoft does not confirm the layoff of Tommy François. The latter's lawyer denies all of the allegations against his client. He explains that the victims should have gone to court to allow him to demonstrate that everything is false. Understand: "you can't prove anything".


July 04:

Yves Guillemot took his pen to explain the changes that will be made by the publisher:

-There'll be big changes to the Editorial but we don't know which ones yet. Ubisoft had already redesigned the Editorial in January ... to give more power to Tommy François and Maxime Béland. Oops. It is also question of transforming human resources and no longer leaving the unhealthy actions of the unpunished chiefs
-Ubisoft has a new role: "Head of Corporate Culture" which will be occupied by Lidwine Sauer. She will suggest changes to be made.
-Ubisoft will organize discussion forums to listen to its employees
-Global business survey to be sent in less than two weeks
-Investigations by independent professionals continue
-A confidential alert tool allows you to "denounce your pig"
-Ubisoft to hire an audit firm to analyze its procedures and rules of conduct
-Ubisoft will also create a "Head of Diversity and Inclusion"

It is still a bit vague but there is clear progress compared to the first answer.
According to a letter sent to Gamasutra, Maxime Beland resigned and Tommy François was placed on disciplinary layoff. An Ubisoft Toronto employee was also fired.


July 12:

Ubi is about to unveil its Winter 2020 collection but the party will be ruined because of the actions of its leaders. A new article from Liberation puts a layer on it, this time with Serge Hascoet as target.
Ubisoft's creative and number 2 chef is accused of encouraging and participating in sexual harassment in the editorial.

We are talking about drugs, porn and rape, all with the complacency of human resources who prefer to stifle business rather than losing creative people. The HR director even threatened to resign with half of his team if Yves Guillemot did not whitewash their actions. Yves also seems OK with toxic leaders provided they are effective. For now, Ubisoft's policy is to investigate the most serious cases but to quickly cover up the rest of the case.

The July 10 Libération report alleged that Hascoet once replied acrimoniously to a company VP's criticisms, telling coworkers, "this 'bad fuck' [the VP] was hindering his creativity and that someone should open her mind by '[fucking her] from behind' and 'sharing her around until she gets it.'" In another alleged incident, Hascoet "reportedly blocked a woman in the elevator and put himself against her, making groaning sounds and looking her in the eyes. Some of his collaborators in the editorial team reportedly did the same, to the point it became [a signature move]."


July 16:

Christophe Derennes replace Yannis Mallat as the head of the company’s Montreal studio. He was previously the executive vice president of production at Ubisoft Montreal:
“Derennes has immense expertise in production management in his 25 years with Ubisoft and has been a source of daily support for development teams in the creation of our games and helped make them into the great successes of which we are all proud”


July 22:

Summarized:

New article by Jason Shreier (link) that talk about meetings in strip clubs and refusing to use female characters in other things.
Ubisoft also announced that part of the bonuses awarded to managers will depend on their ability to create a positive and inclusive workplace.
In the same time, the reorganization continues at Ubi:

-Christophe Derennes, former vice-president of Ubisoft Montreal will replace Yannis Mallat at the head of the studio. Mallat was also the head of the other Canadian studios (Toronto, Quebec City, Saguenay, Halifax and Winnipeg)
-Christine Burgess Quemard will now be in charge of Ubisoft Toronto, Quebec City, Saguenay, Halifax and Winnipeg (all previously headed by Yannis Mallat.

Christophe is the nephew of Yves Guillemot and has 25 years in the society. Christine has even more seniority as she joined the studio in 1987 as employee number 5.


August 03:

Tommy François has "left Ubisoft", announced CEO Yves Guillemot in an internal email that Numerama was able to consult. The ex-VP was accused of making homophobic remarks, sexist and sexual harassment and attempted sexual assault.


August 16:
The series of layoffs at Ubisoft continues. This time around, it's Creative Director Ashraf Ismail's turn to lose his job. He was the head of the studio that made video game publisher's next title, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Ashraf Ismail is accused by an employee of having lied about his marital status and of having taken advantage of her status to have extramarital affairs. During June, he announced to take a step back. In a tweet, he said to himself "deeply sorry for all those who have been hurt"





 
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PSlayer

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-Ubisoft has a new role: "Head of Corporate Culture" which will be occupied by Lidwine Sauer. She will suggest changes to be made. An idea in passing: stop the watered parties and the unlimited budget for marketing

why is unlimited budget for marketing a problem in this context?
 

MigueelDnd

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Serge Hascoet, Cecile Cornet & Yannis Mallat are out. Hascoet in particular is a very big deal, as he's one of the higher-ups with more creative control over everything from new IP creation to game approvals/dismissals, and he's pretty close to Yves as well.
 
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-Arcadia-

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Ubisoft has a new role: "Head of Corporate Culture" which will be occupied by Lidwine Sauer. She will suggest changes to be made.
-Ubisoft will organize discussion forums to listen to its employees
-Investigations by independent professionals continue
-A confidential alert tool allows you to "denounce your pig"
-Ubisoft to hire an audit firm to analyze its procedures and rules of conduct
-Ubisoft will also create a "Head of Diversity and Inclusion"

Mission accomplished. They have their people installed inside Ubisoft, mechanisms for leverage and control of employees, and third parties steering the ship.

If you ever wondered how infiltration happens...

(I will leave open the possibility for grievous abuse, but in today's age, let's be honest, it's far more likely to be this)
 

Sub_Level

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Serge Hascoet, Cecile Cornet & Yannis Mallat are out. Hascoet in particular is a very big deal, as he's one of the higher-ups with more creative control over everything from new IP creation to game approvals/dismissals, and he's pretty close to Yves as well.

Whoah.
 

Zefah

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Damn. Sounds like it went all the way up to the top. Seems like there's no way Yves didn't know what was going on at least somewhat. I hope the victims can get justice and Ubisoft can clean shit up internally.
 
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Hahaha.

UBI's next game is Far Cry: Sexlands

Take control of your character in an open world and try to escape the map. UBI overlords have search towers every mile with helicopters swarming the skies. Win the game by reaching the edge of the map to visit a labour board office, where sitting down with an official to file a complaint wins.

But if you get caught, you are strapped to your chair to take more abuse, and the salary is high enough to mentally keep you from quitting.



On a side note, it's amazing how much corporate crud is in gaming. You never know though. With so many whiners and lefties in gaming, many of these complaints might be outright lies, but where's there's smoke there's fire.

How come you never see rampant swarms of corporate culture abuse (verbal, mental, sexual) at other kinds of big companies like the local electricity company, Pepsi, McDonalds and such?

It's like game companies battle teachers and priests for most deviant behaviour in workplaces.
 
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Guilty_AI

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Hascoet in particular is a very big deal, as he's one of the higher-ups with more creative control over everything from new IP creation to game approvals/dismissals, and he's pretty close to Yves as well.
Considering he's out, is there a chance Ubi games will be actually good now?
 

peter42O

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Anything information about Ishraf Ismail? Any legal issues regarding him or is it still about him being an asshole for cheating on his wife?
 

Barakov

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Serge Hascoet, Cecile Cornet & Yannis Mallat are out. Hascoet in particular is a very big deal, as he's one of the higher-ups with more creative control over everything from new IP creation to game approvals/dismissals, and he's pretty close to Yves as well.
Well, maybe now everything will stop being Assassin's Creed.
 
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egocrata

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Attack? We have a dude harassing and raping employees and he is the fucking victim? Abusing employees is cool in GAF now?
 

Northeastmonk

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I didn’t pay attention to who directed Assassin’s Creed after Jade Raymond stepped out of the picture. I didn’t realize they had a direct creative team. Assassin’s Creed games felt like a conglomerate project, involving multiple studios each game.
 
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UBI is obviously fucked as a company, but does anyone know what the general sentiment is on Reeee about UBI?

Good standing will change to bad?

Or they're already in the dumps so this just adds more fuel?

On the plus side, since the head creative guy in charge of IPs is gone, maybe they'll make fewer samey open world games.
 

-Arcadia-

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Attack? We have a dude harassing and raping employees and he is the fucking victim? Abusing employees is cool in GAF now?

It is a time of much misinformation. People have opinions, and those are allowed here. Calm down, stop acting like any opinion you don’t like represents Gaf as a whole, and feel free to share your take on what happened.
 
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Tiamat2san

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Hahaha.

UBI's next game is Far Cry: Sexlands
On a side note, it's amazing how much corporate crud is in gaming. You never know though. With so many whiners and lefties in gaming, many of these complaints might be outright lies, but where's there's smoke there's fire.

How come you never see rampant swarms of corporate culture abuse (verbal, mental, sexual) at other kinds of big companies like the local electricity company, Pepsi, McDonalds and such?

It's like game companies battle teachers and priests for most deviant behaviour in workplaces.

In France it’s hard to prove work harassment of any kind.
I worked in big and small companies, seen stuffs, I shouldn’t have seen.
It’s hard to fire someone, it’s hard to prove anything here and they force you to resign so they don’t have to pay you anything and you are not entitled to unemployment benefit if you resign.
The unions are weak because big corporations and bank are the one who really govern.
The US think we are a socialist nation but no, it’s a façade.

Our new prime minister appointed someone who have been accused of sexual assault at the head of the police/gendarmerie département (don’t the equivalent in the US) and also A lawyer (who defended corrupt politicians) at the justice department.

So if they clean this much at Ubisoft, it must be bad....really bad.
 

Yoboman

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why is unlimited budget for marketing a problem in this context?
Having worked in marketing: everybody is an alcoholic. 2 or 3 late parties per week are not uncommon plus smaller drinking occasions

If you're connected you might end up at a party every night of the week

Every publisher, digital, radio, TV, print. Agency parties, and you might be connected to up to a dozen agencies. Then technology providers also throwing parties. Plus if this is gaming then you'd also have parties with the distributors like EB games, Amazon etc.

Plus internal and marketing industry events.

Plus everybody is young and wants to be involved, still has the stamina for late night drinks and working through a hangover

If you want to clamp down on a drinking culture, the marketing department is generally a good place to look first

Edit: and to tie it all together- lots of people sleeping together
 
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dottme

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The only thing is that it looks like Ubisoft is taking time to look in the details before kicking everyone out. But all those news just before their big show isn't really good.
 
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Funny how they they've been virtue signaling hard these last few years only to possibly turn out to be scumbags themselves. It's like clockwork.
That's called false narrative cover ups.

Kind of like when a child is missing, the parents come out saying please help find our child. We're a loving family.

A week later parents are charged with murder.

Always be suspect when someone (or a company) is surging hard on virtue signalling out of the blue.
 

IbizaPocholo

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Heart_Attack

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Ubisoft is so fucked for the future. Yves managed to hold off a takeover and managed to keep Ubisoft at the top with that type of culture. Without the support of the people getting kicked out, he'll be forced out eventually.
 

Dory16

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There's no way Yves Guillemot can be the innocent boss who didn't know anything of what his reports were doing. HR knew and so he knew.
This is as if Roger Ailes was coming up with a new corporate culture plan for Fox news. He WAS one of the rapists and Bill O'Reilly could harass along because of the type of leadership that was in place!
Not saying that Yves assaulted or harassed anyone but the buck should stop with him. At the very least he's too clueless to safely run a corporation of that size.
 
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Aion002

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Can't wait!




:messenger_tears_of_joy:


Breakpoint, Leaks and now being accused of all that. Jim Sterling must be having a field day!
 

Quazar77

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There’s a BIG new wave of sexual harrassment cases here in Montreal/Quebec (a lot of entertainment industry people (a lot from music and cinema)) for the last couple of weeks, and medias are on fire about it, so timing is not gonna help the peeps at ubi, I can tell you that much

Their July 12th big celebration day :
 

Dory16

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Ubisoft have 11K employees. Is someone really surprised if some of them aren't devoted Christians with a high sense of morality?
The standard for acceptable behaviour at that company seems to have been set massively below devoted Christian by the sound of it.
 

nowhat

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We still don't know everything that happened, chances are we never will.

But if you have to fire your global HR chief for allegations of abuse, it certainly doesn't look good.
 

Roufianos

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All this from a company so woke, it wants us to believe that there were more black people in Ancient Greece than those with blonde hair and blue eyes
 
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CAB_Life

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Weren’t these guys super woke? This is atrocious if true (and it certainly seems as if this is more than the usual fire without smoke). Yives certainly should share some of the blame. Can’t be a remotely competent boss and not have some inkling of this level of misconduct.
 

Ballthyrm

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I would like to say that most of these allegations concern the higher up and the editorial team.
There is a strong separation / antagonism between them and the dev teams.

These aren't the "creative" they like to paint themselves at, these are the deciders by committee and keepers of the "Ubisoft Game" tm
The whole cleanup operation may have very positive effect as these were the ones making sure all games play the same and feel the same.
 
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Guileless

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What are the chances they are going to delay the show scheduled for today? They might be able to avoid it since this article is in French.
 

B-universe

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Attack? We have a dude harassing and raping employees and he is the fucking victim? Abusing employees is cool in GAF now?

Having gone through the OP, I'm not too sure English is the author's native language. The OP is clearly not trying to portray Ubisoft in a good light. Plus, attacks can be truthful.

And, evidently, the news are dreadful if true.
Anyone proven guilty should face the consequences and proven victims should be protected and compensated.

But It's great you're in possession of all of the relevant facts, bothered to listen to everyone involved and, after very careful examination, have now determined that the allegations are true.

All under half an hour.
What a speedrun.
 

midasmulligan

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If you’re looking for moral guidance from for-profit institutions, then you’re already lost. The upside? The market place is a voting machine and If you don’t agree with the culture at one of these these institutions, then don’t buy their products, don’t work for them, or alert the authorities to illegal behavior. If enough people are on the same page, company fails or changes are made. Sitting around talking about how bad things are while collecting a check or buying season passes, however, just makes you complicit in perpetuating the corruption.
 

namekuseijin

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what is rape here?

because, you know, simply displaying typical male behavior these days - like merely hitting or smiling at woman - is already borderline criminal to fucked up youngsters influenced by gender identity psycho commies

I have a feeling someone got lucky enough to stick their tongue into a woman's mouth and this is the rape allegation...