In a memo to employees posted to the company’s public blog, the CEO of video game giant Ubisoft laid out how the company says it intends to address multiple accusations of sexual misconduct made against several high ranking employees.
On June 24, Ashraf Ismail, the creative director of Ubisoft’s upcoming “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” stepped down after multiple people accused him of misconduct on social media. Ubisoft has not named Ismail’s replacement, and it was ununclear if he was fired or simply taking a leave of absence.
However, just two days later Tommy Francois and Maxime Beland, both vice presidents in Ubisoft’s global game development division, were put on leave pending an investigation of multiple accusations of misconduct. Beland was accused of drunken violence, sexual harassment and other misdeeds. Meanwhile, accusers say Francois “pressured female juniors into sex in front of his employees, made jokes/threats of spiking their drinks,” and encouraged a toxic workplace environment. Several other unnamed employees were also placed on leave.
“The situations that some of you have experienced or witnessed are absolutely not acceptable. No one should ever feel harassed or disrespected at work, and the types of inappropriate behavior we have recently learned about cannot and will not be tolerated,” Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in the statement released Thursday. “To those of you who have spoken up or have supported colleagues, I want to be clear: you are heard, and you are helping drive necessary change within the company.”
“We have significant work to do to improve the ways in which we operate and collaborate, and I am personally committed to ensuring we make these fundamental changes. They need to be profound, and we need to implement them quickly at all levels of the organization,” Guillemot continued.
Among the changes Guillemot laid out:
*The company appointed Lidwine Sauer as “Head of Workplace Culture,” who has been “empowered to examine all aspects of our company’s culture and to suggest comprehensive changes that will benefit all of us.”
*The company is establishing a new position, “Head of Diversity and Inclusion.” The position has not yet been filled.
*Starting July 6, the company will host “a series of employee listening sessions” to allow workers to express “experiences and concerns, as well as your suggestions for improvement.”
*Ubisoft will distribute a “global employment survey” that will be anonymous.
*Ubisoft has established “an online confidential alert platform enabling employees as well as external individuals to report harassment, discrimination and other inappropriate behaviors, including those that infringe on our Code of Fair Conduct.” The platform will be managed by a third part in order to maintain anonymity.
*Ubisoft will select a third party company that will “audit and improve our procedures and policies.”
Read the full statement here.