- Five former Ubisoft executives have been arrested in connection with an investigation into sexual harassment allegations at the company.
- The arrests are linked to a lawsuit filed by French union Solidaires Informatique, which accuses Ubisoft of systemic sexual misconduct.
- The allegations stem from a wave of abuse accusations against senior officials at Ubisoft in summer 2020, prompting suspensions and terminations.
Five former Ubisoft executives have been taken into custody as a result of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment at the company. The arrests tie into the 2021 lawsuit against Ubisoft over systemic sexual misconduct that was filed by French union Solidaires Informatique.
The case itself stems from a summer 2020 wave of harassment and abuse allegations against then-senior officials at Ubisoft. The abuse accusations prompted Ubisoft to suspend several executives and commission a third-party probe of the claims, which resulted in several high-profile terminations. French authorities opened their own investigation into the allegations after Paris-based newspaper Liberation published an extensive expose on the alleged workplace abuse at Ubisoft containing 20 corroborating testimonies.
RELATED: Ubisoft Montreal Devs Reportedly Upset With the Company
That case has now resulted in the arrests of five former Ubisoft executives, Liberation reports. Three of those were made on October 3, while another two accused were said to have been taken into custody earlier today. The list of the detainees includes Serge Hascoet, the ex-Ubisoft CCO who resigned over the misconduct allegations in July 2020. The former number two at the company was accused of enabling one Tommy Francois, who previously served as Ubisoft’s VP of Editorial and Creative Services, as well as Hascoet’s right-hand man.
Several of the accusers previously claimed that Francois regularly engaged in predatory behavior. One such account described a sexual assault at a 2015 company Christmas party, claiming that the former Ubisoft executive attempted to forcibly kiss an employee while she was held by members of his team. She managed to flee after a struggle, before reporting the incident to her manager on the following day, only to be told that she merely misinterpreted a joke, as per the same testimony. Liberation reports that Francois was also taken into custody as part of the early October arrests. The identities of the remaining three detainees are currently unknown.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot previously blamed his subordinates for the misconduct allegations, claiming that “certain individuals betrayed the trust” he bestowed upon them. The executive did vow to crack down on any potential abuse within the company in response to the controversy, having said as much in an October 2020 email to employees.
Less than a year later, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices opened an investigation into Ubisoft Singapore over a different series of accusations alleging sexual misconduct and discrimination at the Far Eastern studio. The probe started shortly after the aforementioned union lawsuit, which also claimed that Ubisoft Montreal was still harboring three managers embroiled in the original controversy more than a year after the scandal came to light.
MORE: Why Ubisoft Going All-In on Assassin’s Creed is a Double-Edged Sword
Source: Liberation (French)