French police have arrested five former Ubisoft executives after a year-long investigation that began in 2021 following complaints and allegations of sexual assault and harassment within the company, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz. The five arrested include former Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoët and former vice president of editorial and creative services Tommy François.
The publication learned of these arrests after a French newspaper reported them liberation reported that three former Ubisoft executives were arrested yesterday and two more today.
The summer of 2020 marked a turning point within Ubisoft after numerous reports emerged of abuse, misconduct and power corruption within the company. Various executives and managers, including François, were subsequently fired; Hascoët resigned voluntarily.
At the time, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot announced he was taking the company’s lead on the investigation, and later publicly released the results of a recent internal employee survey. This survey found that more than 25 percent of the company’s employees observed or experienced workplace misconduct. A disproportionate number of employees who reported misconduct were either non-binary or women, but men in the company were also vocal about witnessing misconduct.
Although several executives such as François, Ashraf Ismail and Maxime Beland were fired and others such as Hascoët resigned voluntarily, a 2021 report found that many Ubisoft employees were unhappy with how the company’s leadership handled the “Me Too” moment bypassed.
In the summer of 2021, the Paris-based Solidaires Informatique union and two victims filed a police report, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz. Years later, French police arrested François, Hascoët and three others. The arrests and subsequent case are being handled by the Bobigny district of Paris.
GamesIndustry.biz notes that the plaintiff’s lawyer, Maude Beckers, reported this liberation that the case goes beyond individual behavior and “exposes systemic sexual violence.” A Ubisoft spokesperson said this GamesIndustry.biz that “Ubisoft has no knowledge of what was shared and therefore cannot comment.”
Game Informer will update this story as we learn more about this ongoing case.
[Source: Libération via GamesIndustry.biz]