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Face aux « comportements toxiques » de plusieurs salariés, le PDG d’Ubisoft promet des « changements structurels »

In a message sent to his thousands of employees, Yves Guillemot announces a series of measures to deal with the denunciations that have recently targeted, in the press and social networks, the toxic and sexist behavior of several Ubisoft employees.

The silence was no longer tenable. In the evening of July 2, the CEO and co-founder of the French flagship of video games, Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot, sent a message to the 18,000 employees of his company. In this internal letter, which several media - including Le Monde - were able to consult and which was also published in English on the Ubisoft website , Yves Guillemot promises a “structural change” within the company he created in 1986, when numerous reports of toxic and sexist behavior targeting its employees were published on social networks and in the press since mid-June.

'The situations that some and some of you have experienced or that you have witnessed are unacceptable ,' writes Yves Guillemot in his message written in French and in English. What we want to implement is a structural change within Ubisoft, in total adequacy with our values   which do not tolerate any toxic behavior and ensure that everyone feels safe to express themselves. ' Ubisoft, whose series ( Rayman, Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, Rainbow
 Six ... ) sell millions of copies on console and PC, has many offices worldwide.

This address to the teams was sent the day of the publication in the daily Liberation of an investigation where employees and former employees of Ubisoft anonymously denounced the actions of certain executives or influential employees within the company. In addition to the cases mentioned of sexual assault, moral harassment, and toxic climate for women employees of Ubisoft, the lack of adequate consideration of these problems, by management and human resources services, is there also pointed. Other testimonies that have appeared since in Liberation or in the Quebec media La Presse have corroborated these denunciations.

"Internal investigations"

This Liberation investigation was preceded, in mid-June, by a wave of denunciations of the behavior of men working in the video game industry. These accusations, published mainly on social networks or transmitted to journalists, had already concerned several Ubisoft employees working in the development or marketing of games. Reports of rape, sexual harassment, predation or questionable behavior towards women were then raised.

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In response, some employees had denied it, others had not reacted. But on June 25, the company announced that it had launched "internal investigations" on the subject, without specifying which people were directly concerned.

These investigations are still ongoing and Ubisoft does not wish to give details, according to the latest information sent to Le Monde . This is also what Yves Guillemot indicated to his teams, in his message sent Thursday evening, after publication of the article in Liberation  :

“In response to recent allegations, we have launched a series of investigations by independent external consultants. I know many of you are anxious to see the results. However, we must take the time necessary to ensure that they are carried out with the required rigor. When completed, all appropriate measures will be taken. If other allegations or reports are brought to our attention, we will also investigate further. "

In this text, Yves Guillemot specifies however tohave "decided to review the composition [of the editorial department" ] of Ubisoft. Or one of the most strategic teams in the company, its creative brain where the projects and main directions of Ubisoft video games are supervised - and whose operation and certain people are precisely targeted by the Liberation investigation .

Maxime Beland, vice-president "editorial" based in Toronto (Canada), resigned Friday "with immediate effect" ; when Tommy François, vice-president "editorial and creative services" based in Paris, was "placed on layoff, pending the conclusions of the investigation concerning him", according to a message to the 18,000 employees of group . Another employee of the Toronto studio was dismissed "for having behaved contrary to what Ubisoft expects from his collaborators" , reveals Mr. Guillemot without further details.

The announcement came when one of the people on the team, interviewed by Liberation journalists , said through his lawyer that he denied "all of the facts that were, very recklessly, reported in the press". Contacted by Le Monde , Ubisoft did not wish to answer our questions for the moment.

"Empower managers more"
Among the other measures and the "roadmap" announced by Yves Guillemot on Thursday are the desire to "transform the HR processes" of Ubisoft "and to make all [ managers ] more responsible " . A manager of a task force devoted to “corporate culture”, Lidwine Sauer, is also appointed. “She will be empowered to examine all aspects of our culture and to propose changes of scale from which we will all benefit. Lidwine will be under my direct supervision (…) and will create a multidisciplinary, international and diversified working group to do this, ” explained Yves Guillemot.

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