Departures occur whileUbisoft is plunged into turmoil for several weeks due to numerous allegations, including harassment, against employees and managers.
Employee complaints have reached their peak in various company studios, notably those in Quebec, where the artistic community is also shaken by a wave of denunciations.
It’s bigsaid an employee of Ubisoft Montreal, speaking of the fact that the announcement of the resignations was sent in an internal email message at 7 p.m., a Saturday evening.
Strongly criticized for their own behavior, or for their management of allegations of harassment and assault, sexual or not, Serge Hascoët, creative director of Ubisoft (and “number two” within the company, under the CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot), Cécile Cornet, world director of human resources, and Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, are no longer employed by the video game giant.
Reactions on Twitter were quick. Sometimes relatively vague, sometimes more direct, messages saying “Is it trash day already?” “,” All together, let’s continue the mobilization “, or” Who will be next? Were published, shared or “liked” by employees or ex-employees of the company, most often women.
What emerges from the testimonies collected – all on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals – is that there reigns a culture of lack of accountability at Ubisoft, in particular due to the constitution of a “boys” ‘club’ which has the power to make and break careers in the industry.
Former Ubisoft Montreal employee who wishes to remain anonymous
an unhealthy political game.
I left Ubisoft after two years because I found that there was an unhealthy nepotism culture. Relatives [d’Yves] Guillemot are untouchables, and can ruin your career in a snap of your fingers.
Is the “cleaning” finished?
The wave of resignations announced on Saturday, after a previous series of formal departures a week ago, will it be sufficient to restore the coat of arms of Ubisoft?
For a project director, employed by Ubisoft Montreal for fifteen years, the era which extends from 1995 to 2005, and whose actors “have not been able to adapt to this world which change ”, ended Saturday thanks to these resignations.
He believes that
Yves Guillemot will bring Ubisoft back into [le présent]. He also believes that the CEO and co-founder
didn’t realize the extent of the problem.
Overall, I think I pushed Yannis [Mallat] outdoors is a good thing for the studio and for Ubisoft in general, he adds.
However, this optimism is not shared by all. Another Ubisoft Montreal employee says Saturday’s announcement is
a first step in the right direction, nothing more.
According to her, the
toxicity has spread throughout the business.
There is little hope for many employees, since they know that Serge [Hascoët] and Yannis [Mallat] have been repeatedly protected over the years, despite their misconduct. They have the impression that this is an attempt to save the furniture, that these stalkers will probably receive a big departure bonus, or will continue to receive a salary.
According to her,
the bond of trust with the company is broken.
Called to respond, Ubisoft mentioned that
no comments will be made at this time, but we will give more details in the coming days.
The video game giant has not changed the content of its presentation Ubisoft Forward, given on Sunday, where the latest news from the company were presented online.
In a message posted on Twitter, the company said that
Ubisoft Forward comes at a time of great internal changes, but the entire content of the presentation has been prerecorded, and that the allegations will not be reported during the online conference.
A culture that goes back a long way
As mentioned by a former employee, who has held various positions within Ubisoft over the years, the Montreal studio of the French company
is the biggest studio [de jeux vidéo] in Montreal, and one of the most successful.
When the Montreal studios open, at the corner of boulevard Saint-Laurent and rue Saint-Viateur,
the company recovered the employees of the studios which were there previously on the territory of the metropolis, continued this ex-employee, who speaks of an inappropriate “culture” and “mores” widespread in all Montreal video game studios.
According to her, individuals who take unwelcome gestures or who have reprehensible behaviors simply tend to change companies, to continue to act as they see fit.
I think it’s the end of an era. In video games, there has never been anyone who has retired. But keep in mind that if Serge Hascoët lost his job, it is because what is happening estie [sic].
According to this same ex-employee, the harassment was not limited to women at Ubisoft.
As much as it is physically and economically dangerous for a woman to be in a video game, my gender has protected me on certain occasions against the inappropriate behavior of certain managers and leaders.
Indeed, these behaviors would have been rightly judged so inappropriate towards a woman that it was unthinkable that the people concerned take action, she specifies. Men have also paid the price for inappropriate declarations or gestures, she says.
The ex-employee also explains that the nature of inappropriate behavior has changed over time. fuck friend“,” text “:” It’s over, the shady employees who had their hands in their pants, or those who came to see you directly to ask you to be their fuck friend “}}” lang = “en” >It’s over, the slightly shady employees who had their hands in their pants, or those who came to see you directly to ask you to be their fuck friend, she says.
People with inappropriate behaviors or gestures who occupied a less important place in the hierarchy had to follow training sessions, for example, or are simply no longer employed by Ubisoft, she adds, before specifying that senior managers at fault, they generally remained in office.
The “old friends”
Ubisoft’s still working project director believes that Yannis Mallat, who directed the Montreal studio before being CEO of all Canadian studios,
had surrounded himself with “friends” for all this time, that is to say French-speaking white men.
they created, possibly implicitly, this culture which is the subject of denunciations today, he adds.
Old friends from the mid-1990s who manage, alone among themselves, a studio of 4000 people, it gives a … special atmosphere.
This same project director also claims that the working atmosphere was even more degraded since a legal case dating back to 2013. In 2016, Mr. Mallat and two other executives from Ubisoft Montreal, Olivier Paris (vice-president operations) and Francis Baillet (vice-president corporate affairs) were ordered to pay 1 million euros to the French Financial Markets Authority.
According to the project director, Mr. Mallat sent a video to the entire studio to proclaim his innocence.and I knew it particularly “,” text “:” But we all knew it was not – and I knew it particularly “}}” lang = “en”>But we all knew it wasn’t – and I knew it particularlyhe says.
Since the start of this crisis, which alleges allegations of harassment and assaults,Mallat or his management team did not show an ounce of remorse, questioning or empathy, as if all this were only “a few nervous people who dream in color ” “,” text “:” at no time M .Mallat or his management team only showed an ounce of remorse, questioning or empathy, as if all this were only “a few nervous people who dream in color ” “}}” lang = “en”>at no time did Mr. Mallat or his management team show an ounce of remorse, questioning or empathy, as if all of this was only “a few nervous people who dream in color”, he adds.