In light of the increasing professional misconduct allegations in the current game industry, Ubisoft has placed multiple employees on leave following accusations of sexual misconduct at the workplace.
According to Bloomberg, the video game giant is conducting a corporate investigation involving two of its executives, Tommy François and Maxime Béland. Both men assume the position of vice-president in Editorial, and Editorial and Creative Services respectively.
The duo faces numerous allegations on Twitter, where streamer Denny Von Doom and narrative designer Meghna Jayanth have been sharing their stories, and lending their platform for those who wish to remain anonymous. Beland is accused of choking a woman “after he became drunk and enraged,” among other things, while François is alleged to have “[pressured] female juniors into sex in front of his employees.” The latter would also “frequently try to touch female colleagues” and “kiss people on the lips”, with such predatory behaviour believed to have moved him away from the Paris studio.
François and Beland are reportedly not the only two employees who have been placed on leave, with Ubisoft promising an investigation into other allegations against multiple employees. Just a few days ago, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail was accused of sexual misconduct with fans, and has since stepped down from his role, and gone on a leave of absence.
The news comes at a time where the game industry is facing a #MeToo reckoning with a deluge of stories on social media. Individuals in the Twitch and YouTube creator space, alongside employees of AAA game development studios and publishers, have been stepping forth to shed light on the abuse, sexual harassment, and other misconduct experienced at workspaces.
The video game industry has long been rooted in, among other issues, the unhealthy culture of misogyny and sexism. Such abhorrent, despicable, and toxic behaviour from men like François, Beland, and others in the industry should certainly be condemned, and it’s good that more affected individuals are having their voices heard.
Si Jia is a casual geek at heart – or as casual as someone with Sephiroth’s theme on her Spotify playlist can get. A fan of movies, games, and Japanese culture, Si Jia’s greatest weakness is the Steam Summer Sale. Or any Steam sale, really.