In an earnings call yesterday, Ubisoft allotted some time to address the litany of abuse and sexual misconduct claims which have dogged the company over the last month. Investors were given an opportunity to ask their own questions.
Investment bank Jeffries Group had spokesman Ken Rumph posing a pointed question to CEO Yves Guillemot.
Regarding what’s happened recently, there are kind of three options. Either as CEO, you didn’t know this was happening, which is not great. Or you perhaps didn’t know enough and should have asked more, maybe that’s the answer. Or you knew, which of course would not be good. Now those are my possibilities. You may answer the question differently. But I’d like to ask what would be your answer to the question about your responsibility as CEO.
Guillemot’s response to the question was not precisely encouraging.
Each time we’ve been made aware of misconduct, we made tough decisions, and made sure that those decisions had a clear and positive impact. It has now become clear that certain individuals betrayed the trust I placed in them, and didn’t adhere to Ubisoft’s shared values. So I have never compromised on my core values and ethics, and I never will.
Aside from reiterating their previously mentioned efforts, Ubisoft has announced some new measures will be implemented.
A new mandatory training program to address harassment situations, a new Code of Conduct which requires mandatory reading and signed acceptance by all employees and new performance criteria for executives with a portion of bonuses being tied to their ability to create a positive and inclusive environment were all mentioned.
CFO Duget also appeared on the call, seemingly firing a broadside back at allegations that creative staff had to fight to get women and other diverse characters into Ubisoft titles, starting his allotted time with a list of characters: Jade (Beyond Good and Evil), Kassandra (Assassin’s Creed Odyssey), Princess Aurora (Child of Light) and others.
“We have represented diversity in a meaningful way in our games. And these titles are among our biggest performers and our most iconic games…as you can expect from our teams’ commitment and passion, Ubisoft will continue to lead the industry on diversity and representation in our games in the future,” he said.