Hours before the Ubisoft Forward event is set to stream, company CEO, Yves Guillemot, addressed the recent allegations facing the industry giant in a short video shared on social media.
Shared on the official Ubisoft twitter, Guillemot alluded to multiple controversies, such as those of sexism in the workplace, and the pushback against the recent Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad trailer, which appeared to use imagery reminiscent of Black Lives Matter protesters to represent its antagonist group.
“This summer, we learnt that certain Ubisoft employees did not uphold our company’s values, and that our systems failed to protect the victims of their behavior. I am truly sorry to everyone who was hurt”, shared Guillemot.
Guillemot stated that the company is working on improving its “systems and processes” in regards to reporting allegations such as these.
Guillemot’s statement appears to attempt to distance himself from the accusations, as he implies that he had no knowledge of how some executives were conducting themselves and that the company only became aware this summer.
This is contradicted by the testimony of ten former and current employees, who stated that abuse allegations had been made as long as ten years ago.
In the short video, Guillemot also announced an investment of $1 million over the next five years to ensure more diversity in the workplace. However, he said that any potential change would not be instant, “we are at the start of a long journey. Real change will take time”.
About the Tom Clancy controversy, Yves Guillemot said, “I want to be clear, Ubisoft stands for equality… unfortunately, one of our recent mobile games includes content that was inappropriate. We are putting in place safeguards to prevent it from happening in the future…we fully support the Black Lives Matter fight.”
The controversy surrounding Ubisoft erupted in July when 40 current and former employees spoke out as part of an investigation into the workplace culture at the Triple-A company. Most of the allegations center around former Chief Creative Officer, Serge Hascoët, who would allegedly hold business meetings in strip clubs, make sexual comments about members of staff, and lace staff’s food with marijuana.
Other Ubisoft figures were accused of making explicitly racist comments against Black people.
Ubisoft Forward begins today. This is a livestreamed event in which the company will showcase its upcoming games, such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.
Food for Thought
It’s too telling that Ubisoft has already announced that this clip will not be part of the Ubiforward event. When Blizzard was in the hot seat over a pro-democracy speech being made in a Hearthstone tournament, the company at least had the guts to address it at Blizzcon itself (however poor that acknowledgment was). Instead, it appears Ubisoft is attempting to satisfy those who continue to criticize the company over the allegations it faces while ensuring those oblivious do not become aware of the issues.