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Ubisoft CEO says real change will take time as he announces the diversity initiative

Ubisoft is expanding its diversity engagement efforts with two programs targeting women and “individuals from underrepresented groups,” the company said today. Ubisoft announced the news ahead of its Way Forward event. In a separate video, CEO Yves Guillemot also acknowledged the company’s recent issues regarding sexual harassment, misconduct, and the use of images of the Black Lives Matter in one of its games.

The first initiative includes a “new edition” of Womxn Develop at Ubisoft mentoring, in which selected applicants receive mentoring and practical experience from Ubisoft employees. The program starts on September 1

4th in San Francisco, Kiev and Toronto. Later programs will be rolled out to other studios in January, starting with Paris. The company is also investing more heavily in its graduate program to create “more opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups”. The program includes mentoring and experience in two different studios.

In late August, Ubisoft announced that it would remove the images of a raised black fist Tom Clancy’s elite squadAfter criticism from developers and fans of the similarity to the Black Lives Matter movement. The images in the game are linked to UMBRA, a fictional terrorist group. (Especially, Elite unit Developer Owlient is co-managed, according to Charlie Guillemot, Yves Guillemot’s son Kotaku.)

“Ubisoft stands for equality and respect for all,” said Guillemot. “Unfortunately, one of our last mobile games had content that was inappropriate. This kind of oversight cannot happen. We are taking precautions to prevent this from happening in the future … We fully support the Black Lives Matter movement. ”

Ubisoft will donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, although Guillemot – who previously mentioned that the company would be putting $ 1 million into its newly announced graduate program – has not disclosed the amount of his donation.

The controversy over Elite unit is yet another sign of Ubisoft’s call for a summer of troubling revelations. In June, stories of harassment, wrongdoing, and more surfaced on Ubisoft via Twitter and subsequent reports from Kotaku and Bloomberg. Many of these claims centered on top executives like Tommy François, Maxime Béland and Serge Hascoët. Although several employees have either resigned or been laid off following investigations, the company has promised changes across the board. As part of this, Ubisoft announced in July that some bonuses are tied to “a team leader’s ability to create a positive and inclusive work environment.”

In today’s video, Guillemot said these developers “failed to uphold our company’s values ​​and that our systems failed to protect the victims of our behavior. I am really sorry for everyone who was hurt. “The company has taken” significant steps “” to remove or sanction those who violate our values ​​and Code of Conduct, and we are working hard to improve our systems and processes. “

Guillemot says he is “fully committed” to driving change at Ubisoft and confirms that he will not step down into the company. “We are at the beginning of a long journey,” said Yves. “Real changes will take time. But I am determined to do everything in my power to make sure everyone at Ubisoft feels welcome, respected and safe, and to rebuild the trust our teams, fans and players have in us. ”

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