Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot addressed the recent controversies surrounding the company – including allegations of serious sexual misconduct against senior executives – in a video statement released ahead of today’s Ubisoft Forward livestream event.
Alluding, though not directly acknowledged, the numerous reports of sexual misconduct by senior executives that have surfaced since June – including Splinter Cell and Far Cry creative director Maxime Béland, Vice President Tommy Francois, and marketer Andrien Gbinigie ̵
“This summer we learned that certain Ubisoft employees had failed to uphold our company’s values,” said Guillemot, “and that our systems failed to protect the victims of their behavior. I’m really sorry that everyone was hurt.”
As part of Ubisoft’s “long journey” to make “real change” possible, Guillemot said the company “has taken significant steps to sanction or remove those who violate its values and code of conduct,” and “is working hard on it.” to improve. ” [its] Systems and Processes “.
Earlier reports have confirmed that Béland and Francois, along with a number of other senior executives, have since left the company and that Valhalla’s creative director Ashraf Ismail was sacked after several women claimed he contacted them privately after they made her public that they were fans of the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
In today’s statement, Guillemot said the company is now also focused on enhancing diversity and inclusivity at all levels of the company and, as part of the ongoing process, has committed to invest an additional $ 1 million in its graduate program over the next five years – with the aim of creating opportunities for “underrepresented groups, including women and people of color” at Ubisoft.
“I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure that everyone at Ubisoft feels welcome, respected and safe,” continued Guillemot.
The CEO also touched on the recent controversy surrounding the trailer for his mobile game Tom Clancy: Elite Squad, which used a raised fist symbol closely associated with the Black Lives Matter movement to denounce a fictional group of terrorists depict the players must kill.
While Guillemont once again chose not to mention the incident directly, merely hinting at “inappropriate content” in a “current mobile game,” he insisted that Ubisoft stands for “equality and respect for all” and that the company “condemns everyone.” who uses our games “as a proxy for hatred or toxicity” and that “this kind of mistake cannot happen”.
As a result, security measures are being put in place to prevent similar incidents in the future, and Ubisoft will make a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in support of the Black Lives Matter.
“I am determined to drive change at Ubisoft,” concluded Guillemot, “and to ensure that we always uphold and exemplify our core values in the company, in the industry, in the community and in our games.”
Guillemot’s statement arrives ahead of Ubisoft Forward’s livestream today, the second of the summer, and yet the company has again made the decision not to acknowledge recent events on its flagship show. In July, Ubisoft claimed it was too late to include a public response on its first livestream “because all of the content has already been recorded,” and now it is said that Guillemot’s message will not be included tonight “for reasons of time”.
While it is disappointing that Ubisoft has found it impossible to secure the additional four minutes of internet time it takes to ensure that its CEO’s commitment, “do everything in my power to ensure everyone is at Ubisoft Feeling welcome, respected and safe, “Reaching the widest possible audience. The Company intends to append the statement to all on-demand versions of today’s livestream forwarding as much as possible.