Ahead of today’s Ubisoft Forward stream, the gaming company released a video discussing its recent controversies and its plans to address them.
In the four-minute video, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot apologizes for the recent string of sexual harassment allegations against multiple Ubisoft employees. Several high-ranking employees left the company in light of the allegations, including the studio’s vice president, Tommy François, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director Ashraf Ismail.
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) September 10, 2020
“This summer, we learned that certain Ubisoft employees did not uphold our company’s values and that our system failed to protect the victims of their behaviors. I am truly sorry for everyone who was hurt. We have taken significant steps to remove or sanction those who violated our values and code of conduct,” Guillemot said.
The claim that Ubisoft became aware of its sexual harassment issues this summer conflicts with recent reporting on the studio. Former and current Ubisoft employees say they’ve filed multiple claims over the years, many of which were “ignored, mishandled, or undermined,” according to a Bloomberg report.
Guillemot pledged to increase diversity within the company and said Ubisoft will invest $1 million over the next five years into its graduate program, with a focus on “creating opportunities for underrepresented groups.” The Ubisoft Graduate Program recruits recent graduates for a two-year program where they work at the studio. Members of the program may receive a full contract at the studio once the two years are up.
In addition to addressing its sexual harassment problem, Guillemot apologized for a recent controversy in Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. The mobile game used raised fist imagery, associated with Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights movement, to represent a terrorist organization.
Guillemot reaffirmed Ubisoft’s support for Black Lives Matter and said the studio will donate to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Ubisoft previously vocalized support for the movement following the murder of George Floyd in June. The studio postponed game announcements amid protests and donated $100,000 to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter. The Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad controversy occurred a few months later, prompting Ubisoft to apologize and remove the raised fist symbol from the game.