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Ubisoft reportedly places two VPs on leave as it investigates misconduct

Maxime Béland and Tommy François were execs named in accusations.
FOR USE WITH AFP STORY by Clement SABOURIN, Canada-France-USA-play-videos-cinema The offices of Ubisoft in Montreal on November 10, 2009. The company developed the video game Avatar which has been turned into a movie directed by James Cameron. AFP PHOTO/Clement SABOURIN (Photo credit should read Clement Sabourin/AFP via Getty Images)
 The offices of Ubisoft in Montreal on November 10, 2009.
AFP via Getty Images
Engadget|@engadget|June 27, 2020 5:29 AM

A recent slew of reports of sexual abuse and misconduct within gaming communities has included multiple accusations posted to social media about the culture and personnel within Ubisoft. On Thursday the company made a public statement about the allegations, saying “We have started by launching investigations into the allegations with the support of specialized external consultants. Based on the outcomes, we are fully committed to taking any and all appropriate disciplinary action. As these investigations are ongoing, we can't comment further.”

Now Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reports that a number of employees have been placed on leave pending those investigations, including two high-level executives, VPs Maxime Béland and Tommy François. The report also notes that an internal posting of the same statement made publicly has received hundreds of comments from employees expressing skepticism that there will be change and their lack of trust in HR.

A Twitter thread collecting many of the reports made both anonymously and publicly named many employees including those VPs and others, as well as stories from studios in Paris, Toronto and Montreal. They ranged from harassment and intimidation of women in the workplace, animal abuse, racism, assault and predatory behavior, as well as unwanted approaches followed by retaliation and blacklisting after a rejection.

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Earlier in the week Assassin’s Creed creative director Ashraf Ismail announced he would take a leave of absence via a post to a now-deleted Twitter account, saying “I am stepping down from my beloved project to properly deal with the personal issues in my life.” Reports about Ismail centered on inappropriate behavior with fans of the games while misleading them about his marital status. Others named in reports included Dying Light 2 writer Chris Avellone, product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie, and Stone Chin.

The company’s statement closed by saying “We are also auditing our existing policies, processes, and systems to understand where these have broken down, and to ensure we can better prevent, detect, and punish inappropriate behavior.”

“We will be sharing additional measures that we are putting in place with our teams in the coming days. Our goal is to foster an environment that our employees, partners, and communities can be proud of –one that reflects our values and that is safe for everyone.”

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