Activision-Blizzard employees are currently holding a walkout in protest of the company’s leadership and the workplace culture outlined in a lawsuit against the company that went public last week. Today, Ubisoft employees released their own letter standing in solidarity with the workers protesting, as well as calling attention to their own company’s ongoing issues that have become public knowledge over the last year.
The letter has been signed by over 500 Ubisoft workers, and calls these stories indicative of “a widespread and deeply ingrained culture” within the video game industry. The employees that signed call for Ubisoft to take more meaningful action against offenders in the company who perpetuated similar stories of sexual harassment, bullying, and created a toxic work environment. Prior to this, there had been reports that employees have been dissatisfied by the company’s actions thus far, which has reportedly come in the form of training sessions and moving the offending people from one position to another, rather than firing them. The full letter as published by Axios’ Stephen Totilo on Twitter reads as follows:
To the workers at Activision/Blizzard,
We hear you and want to loudly declare our solidarity with you. Over the past week, the games industry has once again been rocked by revelations that have long been known by too many of us. Revelations that a year ago many were hearing about Ubisoft. It is clear, from the frequency of these reports, that there is a widespread and deeply ingrained culture of abusive behavior within the industry. It should no longer be a surprise to anyone: employees, executives, journalists, or fans that these heinous acts are going on. It is time to stop being shocked. We must demand real steps be taken to prevent them. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions.
We believe you, we stand with you and support you.
To the management at Ubisoft, We, the undersigned, have had enough. It has been over a year since the first revelations of systemic discrimination, harassment and bullying within Ubisoft came out. At the time, you acted surprised to hear of these acts going on within your own company and we gave you the benefit of the doubt. However, we have seen nothing more than a year of kind words, empty promises, and an inability or unwillingness to remove known offenders. We no longer trust your commitment to address these issues at their core. You need to do more.
That does not mean more training sessions that go ignored by the people who need them most, and that does not mean more re-assurances and kind words. It means real, impactful action. The only way to fix something so ingrained is to remove the pillars that are complicit with it, be it by actively taking part or by supporting it.
This is not only a matter of process, focus groups, PR management or education. This is a matter of people’s lives, their mental and physical health. By choosing profit over our security you are literally toying with our lives. We should not have to choose between work and our safety.
We have stood by and watched as you fired only the most public offenders. You let the rest either resign or worse, promoted them, moved them from studio to studio, team to team, giving them second chance after second chance with no repercussions. This cycle needs to stop. We, the collective employees of Ubisoft, demand a seat at the table when it comes to deciding how to move forward from here. The offenders need to be removed from the company, along with those who were complicit in or willfully ignorant of the actions of others. As the management, it is your role to see these acts going on and take action. Ignorance is not an excuse, not in law and certainly not in the eyes of your employees.
We need real, fundamental changes, within Ubisoft, with ActivisionBlizzard, and across the industry. To this end, we propose that ActivisionBlizzard, Ubisoft, and other industry-leading publishers and developers collaborate and agree to a set of rules and processes for handling reports of these offenses. This collaboration must heavily involve employees in non-management positions and union representatives. This is essential to ensure that those who are directly affected by these behaviors are leading the change.
While the lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard went public last week, Ubisoft higher-ups were subject to a French court complaint earlier this month. The complaint named individuals in leadership positions, including CEO Yves Guillemot, former HR Director Cecile Cornet, former Global Creative Director Serge Hascoët, and former Editorial VP Tommy Francois, and the company’s HR department. This all comes after a year of workplace environment stories from out of Ubisoft being made public, which the company acknowledged, but not without putting it a safe distance from a Ubisoft Forward presentation where it was showing off all its games.