• July 30, 2021

Ubisoft CEO Says “Significant Progress” Has Been Made After Employees Call For Change

This week, hundreds of current and former Ubisoft employees signed an open letter in solidarity with Activision Blizzard employees, who participated in a strike on Wednesday to protest an alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination at Call Of Duty developers and World Of Warcraft. The letter criticizes Ubisoft’s own handling of the abuse allegations and calls for “real and fundamental changes” across the industry. Yesterday, the CEO, Yves Guillemot, responded by saying that the company has made “significant progress over the past year”, but acknowledges that “there is still a lot of work to do.”

“To Activision Blizzard workers, we listen to you and want to loudly declare our solidarity with you,” it reads. the letter (obtained by Stephen Totilo of Axios). “Over the past week, the games industry has been rocked once again by revelations that many of us have known about for a long time. Revelations that many heard about Ubisoft a year ago.”

“It is clear from the frequency of these reports that there is a pervasive and deeply ingrained culture of abusive behavior within the industry. It should no longer surprise anyone – employees, executives, journalists or fans that these heinous acts continue. It is time to stop being shocked. We must demand that real steps be taken to prevent them. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. ”

This all follows last week’s news that the California Department of Housing and Fair Employment (DFEH) was suing Activision Blizzard for allegedly harboring a corporate culture that creates “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women. women”.

The company responded by saying that the lawsuit included “distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard’s past.” Thousands of Activision Blizzard employees signed a letter shortly thereafter in response, condemning the company’s “abhorrent and insulting” reaction to the allegations. On Wednesday, this culminated in a strike, and Activision Blizzard staff requested that management work with them on a series of lawsuits to improve diversity and help create a safer work environment.

Following its message of solidarity, the letter from Ubisoft employees expresses distrust and disappointment at the “kind words, empty promises and the inability to eliminate known criminals” from Ubisoft management.

“We, the collective employees of Ubisoft, demand a seat at the table when it comes to deciding how to move forward from here,” the letter continues. “Violators should be removed from the company, along with those who were deliberately complicit or ignorant of the actions of others. As management, it is your role to see these acts occur and to take action. Ignorance is not an excuse, not in the law and certainly not in the eyes of your employees. ”

“We need real and fundamental changes, within Ubisoft, within Activision Blizzard and across the industry.”

Ubisoft responded with a short statement, saying they have made “significant and significant changes” while acknowledging that they need to work with staff to ensure they are creating a workplace where they feel “valued, supported and most importantly safe.” CEO Yves Guillemot also emailed employees their own response, going into a little more detail.

“We have made significant progress over the past year,” he says. “Since the summer, we have implemented new anonymous reporting tools, we have revamped our human resources processes, including new global policies to prevent and manage discrimination, retaliation and harassment, we have installed a new code of conduct, we have implemented training mandatory, we have established a content review group and are incorporating new leadership in major studios, HR, D&I, Editorial and Production. These are important steps forward, but this is a long process and there is still more work to be done. do “.

Guillemot adds that the company has conducted hundreds of “listening sessions” over the past year, as well as a global survey and audit of the entire company. It also recognizes that “not everyone trusts the processes in place to handle reports of misconduct”, and it is a “top priority” for the company to “ensure they are robust and independent.”

In a “final reply” to Guillemot’s email, a Ubisoft developer said Eurogamer today that “most of our demands were set aside and few of our points have been addressed.”

“Ubisoft continues to protect and promote known criminals and their allies. We see that the administration continues to avoid this problem,” they add. “We expect a response that addresses all the issues raised and properly acknowledges our demands.”

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