Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has stated changes to improving diversity and inclusivity at the company, along with the company’s support of Black Lives Matter.
We previously reported how after numerous sexual misconduct allegations, multiple Ubisoft executives stood down during internal investigations. Anonymous sources also spoke to other outlets, describing the working atmosphere blurred the line between work and leisure, which allegedly lead to predatory behavior.
Ubisoft vice president of editorial and creative services Tommy François was fired in late July to early August. In our prior report, François was one of the executives who had accusations levied against him. Other executives had also resigned or were placed on administrative leave.
Allegations made against Ismail were one of the first made against Ubisoft executives. Streamer Dani Porter Bridges (“MatronEdna”) claimed in a tweet that she and Ismail had been in a relationship for one year “on and off,” despite Ismail being married. Ismail was later reportedly fired from Ubisoft.
Other Ubisoft executives who have are no longer present at the company include vice president of editorial Maxime Béland, chief creative officer Serge Hascöet, managing director of Canadian studios Yannis Mallat, global head of human resources Cécile Cornet (all resigned), and public relations director Stone Chin (fired).
Along with allegations of sexual harassment, several individuals were accused of racist or homophobic comments, as well as close friends of executives being promoted over women.
Now, Guillemot has release a video ahead of today’s Ubisoft Forward presentation, apologizing for what occurred, and the steps Ubisoft would take to prevent it in the future.
In summation, these included removing and sanctioning those who violated Ubisoft’s conduct rules, and improving diversity and inclusivity at all levels of the company. This includes donating an additional $1 million USD over five years into their graduate program, specifically focused on women and people of color.
Guillemot also discussed (though not referring to it directly) how Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad drew ire, as some felt the game’s villains were being compared to Black Lives Matter.
The villains; UMBRA, “claim to promote an egalitarian utopia to gain popular support; while behind the scenes, UMBRA organizes deadly terrorist attacks to generate even more chaos and weaken governments … at the cost of many innocent lives.”
After the death of George Floyd (initially assumed to be due to police brutality and later revealed to be a fentanyl overdose [1, 2]), several major US has been embroiled in rioting and looting. While those rioting claim it is in defense of African Americans and other minorities, their actions have resulted in the burning of small businesses and murder.
Some have claimed the riots have been goaded or orchestrated by those with communist or Marxist ideals (or at the least those with the following goal), hoping to destabilize the US and subsequently execute a coup.
Those accusations combined with the game’s intro showing the group using a propaganda video with a black raised fist (a symbol of many rebellious and equal rights groups, including Black Lives Matter) lead to accusations of Ubisoft comparing the villains to Black Lives Matter. They announced the cutscene would be altered.
Guillemot stated safeguards would be put in place to prevent such “inappropriate content” from happening in their games again. He also stated Ubisoft’s full support of Black Lives Matter
“I want to be clear: Ubisoft stands for equality and respect for all. Unfortunately, one of our recent mobile games included content that was inappropriate. This kind of oversight cannot happen. We are putting in place safeguards to prevent it in the future. We condemn anyone using our games as a proxy for hate or toxicity.
We fully support the Black Lives Matter movement. And today, we are making an additional donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.”
Guillemot also discussed the coronavirus pandemic, and his pride in Ubisoft teams’ dedication and what they have achieved despite the circumstances.
You can find the full video below.