Top executives quit French gaming giant Ubisoft in sexual harassment probe

A number of senior staff have stepped down at French video game company Ubisoft as it conducts an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims.

Three top executives, including Serge Hascoet, chief creative officer, head of human resources Cécile Cornet and Canadian branch managing director Yannis Mallat left their posts, according to a statement released on Sunday.

The probe and resignations come as a number of current and former employees posted sexual harassment and predatory behaviour stories on social media.

“Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO and co-founder of the company that has published popular game series such as Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry.

“This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviours are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised – and never will,” he said.

Guillemot will be temporarily taking over Hascoet’s role while stating that Ubisoft will be “committed to implementing profound changes.”

Sexual harassment on a global scale

Ubisoft has a total of 18,000 employees worldwide, including 22 percent women.

Anonymous stories by employees and former employees being mistreated were posted on Twitter at the end of June, primarily about executives in Toronto and Montreal, but other employees in studios in Brazil, Bulgaria and the United States, also posted their stories, some of which were several years old.

Video game industry sexual harassment was initially brought to light during the “gamergate” controversy in 2014, where those who criticised the way women were portrayed in a number of violent video games received rape and death threats, pushing the industry to look inward to reform itself.

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