#HoldUbisoftAccountable: Why fans request you ditch your Ubisoft account
Prince of Persia. Assassin’s Creed. Far Cry. What else do you associate with the French video game company Ubisoft? How about “toxic working conditions and sexual harassment”? Don’t see that when you log in to your Ubisoft account, do you?
There’s a reason #HoldUbisoftAccountable is trending, and it might cause you to delete said Ubisoft account. Maybe you already did, because this whole thing has been going on for a year, sans the hashtag. Last summer, Ubisoft was hit by numerous accusations of sexual misconduct in the workplace – a massive scandal that led the company to do some restructuring, and pledge to, basically, catch up to the 2020s.
But talk is cheap, as they say, and the proof is in the pudding, to use yet another colloquialism. And it looks like Ubisoft’s pudding still sucks. New reports have emerged indicating not much has changed at the company, and that most of the changes have been cosmetic only. The gaming community isn’t happy. Hence #HoldUbisoftAccountable.
Ubisoft has yet to make meaningful changes to their company after numerous allegations of sexual abuse
As a member of the Assassin's Creed family I will be removing all scheduled Ubisoft streams until action has been made #HoldUbisoftAccountable 👏🏽👏🏽
— BlackKrystel (@BlackKrystel) May 20, 2021
The #MeToo movement has expanded beyond Hollywood and the movie industry. As sexual predators and inappropriate conduct has been exposed & condemned around the world, more victims have been encouraged to speak out. Unsurprisingly, the video game industry turned out to be just as prone to instances of sexual harassment & workplace misconduct as other entertainment industries.
Ubisoft’s day of reckoning came on July 1st, 2020, when the French newspaper Libération published part one of a damning exposé revealing the company’s toxic workplace culture. Part two hit the stands on July 10th, doubling down on an investigation that suggested Ubisoft’s HR department actively ignored harassment reports on a regular basis.
On July 11th, 2020, Ubisoft went on damage control mode. A press release announced the voluntary departures of many key players, including Cécile Cornet, the company’s global head of human resources, and Serge Hascoët, Ubisoft’s Chief Content officer. Hascoët was at the center of most of the HR-related complaints, being accused of using sexual misconduct & harassment against anyone who criticized him.
I want to echo something going around #HoldUbisoftAccountable
This is a Ubisoft problem, but this is also a problem that primarily affects women who work on these games and creators who promote them.
Please uplift our female Ubisoft friends and creators as well!#ACSisterhood
— JordanDoes (@itsJordanDoes) May 20, 2021
Not great, Bob
So what’s it like at Ubisoft ten months after a, supposedly, massive reworking of the way the company operates? According to a report from French publication Le Telégramme, not a whole lot has changed. Most of the people in the HR department responsible for the initial crisis remain in their positions. And the “new blood” brought over to replace those who resigned doesn’t seem interested in actually revamping the company.
Sources within Ubisoft have told Le Telégramme that new harassment cases reported in the Canada branch of the company are still not being addressed. Furthermore, some of the men who were accused in the initial wave of investigations are still part of the company. Florent Castelnérac, accused of harassment by over a dozen employees, continues to be head of Ubisoft-owned Nadeo, for example.
And even though Ubisoft is in the process of implementing some changes – like reworking its code of conduct to actually address harassment, and training staff & management on how to handle these situations – sources told Le Telégramme that it all feels perfunctory. “We perceive a desire [from management] to leave the crisis from summer 2020 behind as it represents a risk for the group’s durability”.
You fucking love to see it!
Thank you so much to everyone contributing to #HoldUbisoftAccountable pic.twitter.com/7tN0N8bWAF
— Oscar the Öl (@Oscarthel1) May 20, 2021
Meanwhile, Ubisoft is actually in the middle of actual legal proceedings regarding the 2020 harassment cases. The games workers union Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo is leading the collective action against the company. The repercussions from the original accusations are clearly far from over.
But the legal implications of the company’s toxic workplace environment is far from the only concern for Ubisoft. The report from Le Telégramme has fired up the gaming community. And so we circle back to #HoldUbisoftAccountable, and a sudden campaign toward cancelling Ubisoft. Stop buying Ubisoft games, delete your Ubisoft account, stop covering Ubisoft games on your social media channels . . . You get the idea.
Upon a request for comment, a Ubisoft representative reassured the gaming site VG247 that “profound changes” have “taken place at every level of the company”. They added: “Additional initiatives are underway and are being rolled out over the coming months. We are committed to strengthening our culture and values in the long term, to help ensure every team member at Ubisoft is heard, respected and valued in the workplace.”
Where do you stand when it comes to this Ubisoft controversy? Are you deleting your Ubisoft account or do you think the company needs more time to implement change? Let us know in the comments!