Ubisoft Faces Potential Legal Action From a French Union Following Abuse Claims

Ubisoft Faces Potential Legal Action From a French Union Following Abuse Claims

A collective lawsuit isn't a given yet, but Solidaires Informatique is looking to assemble one.

The outpouring of abuse and harassment allegations leveled against Ubisoft in recent weeks have led to promises of reform from CEO Yves Guillemot and departures by some of the accused. Now, the matter may go to court.

GamesIndustry.biz reports that French labor union Solidaires Informatique is seeking to put together a collective lawsuit against Ubisoft. The union is inviting "the victims of the Ubisoft group's actions, associations and any organization wishing to help" to join the effort, which is being led by labor and discrimination lawyer Maude Beckers.

"The repeated acts of harassment and sexual assault, sexist acts and discrimination, as well as the impunity that the group has been subjected to over many years must be explained and repaired," Solidaires Informatique's statement reads. "The exclusion of a few prominent individuals such as [Chief Creative Officer] Serge Hascoët is not enough, as those who have benefitted from the group's activities are hiding under their leadership."

Solidaires Informatique promises "total confidentiality and legal support" for those who come forward. Current or former Ubisoft employees interested in joining the effort do not need to be union members.

Last year, Solidaires Informatique partnered with Game Workers Unite in a call for testimonies concerning conditions at Detroit: Become Human studio Quantic Dream, which was accused of fostering a highly inappropriate work culture. The studio settled with one former employee who was mocked with obscene photoshopped images in December.

Of the companies implicated in the renewed movement against harassment, discrimination, and abuse in the games industry, Ubisoft has seen the most scrutiny and a large number of subsequent resignations, suspensions, and exits. In addition to Hascoët, VP of Editorial Maxime Béland, Ubisoft Canada Managing Director Yannis Mallat, and (as he confirmed via Twitter earlier this week) PR director Stone Chin are amongst those who are permanently departing the company. Assassin's Creed Valhalla Creative Director Ashraf Ismail and VP of Editorial Tommy François are confirmed to be on leave.

Yesterday, a new report from Bloomberg on toxic work conditions at Ubisoft also brought to light claims that sexist views have impacted the content of Ubisoft titles, particularly a reticence to release an Assassin's Creed title focusing on a female protagonist.

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Mathew Olson

Reporter

Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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