Ubisoft employees condemn the industry’s “culture of abuse” in open letter, accuse Yves Guillemot of “sidelining” their demands

Over 1,000 current and former Ubisoft employees have signed an open letter in solidarity with the workers at Activision Blizzard, calling for systemic change across the games industry and condemning a “culture of abuse” (via Axios).

“Over the past week, the games industry has once again been rocked by revelations that have long been known by too many of us,” reads the letter, which was shared with Axios’ Stephen Totilo. “Revelations that a year ago many were hearing about Ubisoft. It is clear, from the frequency of these reports, that there is a widespread and deeply ingrained culture of abuse behavior within the industry.”

Much like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft itself was rocked by reports of sexual harassment and bullying when employees spoke out last year.

It comes as no surprise then that Ubisoft employees spoke out after reports of a ‘frat boy culture’ of sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard, which emerged in a lawsuit against the company filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

“We, the undersigned, have had enough,” reads the letter. “It has been over a year since the first revelations of systemic discrimination, harassment and bullying within Ubisoft came out. At the time, you acted surprised to hear of these acts going on within your own company and we gave you the benefit of the doubt. However, we have seen nothing more than a year of kind words, empty promises, and an inability or unwillingness to remove known offenders. We no longer trust your commitment to address these issues at their core. You need to do more.”

The Ubisoft employees called for change, not just at Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, but across the industry, saying:

“We need real, fundamental changes, within Ubisoft, within Activision Blizzard, and across the industry. To this end, we propose that Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and other industry-leading publishers and developers collaborate and agree to a set of rules and processes for handling reports of these offenses. This collaboration must heavily involve employees in non-management positions and union representatives. This is essential to ensure that those who are directly affected by these behaviors are leading the change.”

Additionally, the letter calls on Ubisoft to remove all offenders from the company, saying that Ubisoft has “fired only the most public offenders.”

Ubisoft in turn issued a statement of their own, in a letter to all employees from CEO Yves Guillemot:

“We have carefully read the letter signed by former and current Ubisoft employees. We have a deep respect for the engagement of our teams who are pushing for changes within our industry. We want to be very clear that we take this letter – and the issues it raises – very seriously. Over the past year, we have committed to engaging with our employees to enact fundamental changes. Many of these changes have been driven by internal feedback and insights shared by our teams and we are grateful for this ongoing communication.

“Ubisoft has made significant and meaningful changes that seek to create a safe and inclusive work environment for all, and there is still more work to be done. We absolutely stand behind these efforts and the positive impact they have had on our company culture while also recognizing that we must continue to engage with our employees to ensure we are creating a workplace where they feel valued, supported and most importantly, safe.”

However, the group of employees behind the open letter have reached out to GamesIndustry.biz, saying that Guillemot’s response “sidelines” their demands, and that “few of our points seem to have been addressed.”

“We are aware that the company has made some improvements, and we are happy to hear that Yves and the leadership team agree that it is not enough,” said the group. “However, Ubisoft continues to protect and promote known offenders and their allies. We see management continuing to avoid this issue. It is also worth clarifying that an invitation to reach out to company management personally is not the same as having a collective seat at the table.”

“By being the first to start this collaboration Ubisoft has the opportunity to be at the forefront of creating a better future for the games industry. We demand that this work be done in collaboration with employees at all levels.

“We want to see real, fundamental change within Ubisoft and across the industry, for the sake of our members. Again, we look forward to a response that addresses all the issues raised and properly acknowledges our demands.”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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