French police have arrested five former Ubisoft executives after an investigation into claims of abuse, harassment and discrimination at the company, according to the newspaper Libération. Ex-Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët and Tommy François, a former vice president of editorial and creative services, were among those taken into custody. Both men left Ubisoft in 2020 following accusations against them.
When asked about the arrests, Ubisoft told GamesIndustry.biz that it didn't have "knowledge of what has been shared and therefore can't comment."
In 2021, a French workers union and two ex-Ubisoft employees sued the publisher for allegedly enabling a culture of "institutional sexual harassment." Solidaires Informatiques claimed that, rather than addressing the issues head on, Ubisoft found it easier to tolerate alleged misconduct. Francois and Hascoët were among those named in the suit.
According to Libération, police spent more than a year investigating the case. They collected testimonies from approximately 50 staffers and former employees. A lawyer for the plaintiffs claimed (according to a translation) that "beyond simple individual behavior, [the case] reveals systemic sexual violence" in an environment where a "'schoolboy atmosphere' was tolerated."
Several senior employees resigned or were fired in 2020 after reports emerged of widespread misconduct at the company, including at Ubisoft studios in Montreal and Toronto. That summer, CEO Yves Guillemot laid out a plan to address such issues and clean up a culture of toxicity within the ranks.