PC & Video Games

Toxic industry? Allegations of rampant sexual harassment and assault at Ubisoft Toronto studio

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  • Jul 16th, 2020 12:27 pm
[OP]
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Dec 28, 2005
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Toxic industry? Allegations of rampant sexual harassment and assault at Ubisoft Toronto studio

Cole's Notes:
  • Ubisoft Toronto co-founder and former Editorial division member, Maxime Beland, has been accused of choking a female employee at a work party (among other allegations of sexual harassment)
  • Ubisoft Toronto Development Liaison for Watch Dogs: Legion, Andrien Gbinigie, has been accused of sexual assaulting a female employee while others have stated he either sexually assaulted or harassed her
  • Several women have stated that Ubisoft Toronto would hold monthly drinking parties on Friday nights where Directors and other management would get "handsy"
  • At the time of the allegations against Beland, his wife was the head of HR
  • A letter demanding HR reforms was signed by 100 Ubisoft Toronto employees and sent to the studio's head, Alexandre Parizeau
  • An investigation was launched by the Guillemot family into Beland, but Beland resigned without co-operating
Given how incestuous the game development industry is, I suspect we are going to see more stories come to light at other studios. Thoughts on this? Anyone work for Ubisoft and want to voice their thoughts or experiences?

Link: https://kotaku.com/ubisoft-employees-ha ... 1844277486
17 replies
Deal Addict
Jul 14, 2014
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I would assume this sort of thing happens in every industry, not just the gaming industry.
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I didn't think it could get worse than losing a USB full of kiddie porn at a Medieval Times, then denying your employees a payment perk and instead keeping it for yourself.
Guess I was wrong!
c'mon get happy!
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Dec 3, 2007
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unshavenyak wrote: Given how incestuous the game development industry is
Where you get this from?
[OP]
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mucat wrote: Where you get this from?
Studio heads move around a tonne. The guy being accused here went from Ubisoft to EPIC back to Ubisoft.
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unshavenyak wrote: Studio heads move around a tonne. The guy being accused here went from Ubisoft to EPIC back to Ubisoft.
So it is just this guy moving around companies? The game industry definitely has problem but I do not think this is a common problem in game industry.
From the article, he sounds creepy. Can't imagine working for/with a person like this.
[OP]
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mucat wrote: So it is just this guy moving around companies? The game industry definitely has problem but I do not think this is a common problem in game industry.
From the article, he sounds creepy. Can't imagine working for/with a person like this.
Well, there's the whole Borderlands Pitchford saga. Then there was the studio (I can't remember which one) that was paying female employees to opt-in to an ovulation and menstrual cycle tracking program. Then there are the accusations against Paradox, Techland, Gato and Bungie of rampant sexual harassment in their studios. In 2018, Riot Games had to come up with a new HR and values policy to quell its own self-described "bro culture". Alec Holowka committed suicide when allegations of his sexual harassment surfaced. The Creative Director of Assassin's Creed Valhalla resigned because he was engaged in relationships with multiple women, sometimes employees, whilst being married. I wouldn't say it's one isolated incident.
Last edited by unshavenyak on Jul 10th, 2020 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
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unshavenyak wrote: Well, there's the whole Borderlands Pitchford saga. Then there was the studio (I can't remember which one) that was paying female employees to opt-in to an ovulation and menstrual cycle tracking program. Then there are the accusations against Paradox, Techland, Gato and Bungie of rampant sexual harassment in their studios. In 2018, Riot Games had to come up with a new HR and values policy to quell its own self-described "bro culture". Alec Holowka committed suicide when allegations of his sexual harassment surfaced. The Creative Director of Assassin's Creed Valhalla resigned because he was engaging with relationships with multiple women, sometimes employees, whilst being married. I wouldn't say it's one isolated incident.
Thank you for your post. Oh my god. those are horrible. I thought the ridiculous work hours is ...ridiculous. Those are crazy. menstrual cycle tracking program? wtf
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Aug 25, 2015
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unshavenyak wrote: Cole's Notes:
  • Ubisoft Toronto co-founder and former Editorial division member, Maxime Beland, has been accused of choking a female employee at a work party (among other allegations of sexual harassment)
  • Ubisoft Toronto Development Liaison for Watch Dogs: Legion, Andrien Gbinigie, has been accused of sexual assaulting a female employee while others have stated he either sexually assaulted or harassed her
  • Several women have stated that Ubisoft Toronto would hold monthly drinking parties on Friday nights where Directors and other management would get "handsy"
  • At the time of the allegations against Beland, his wife was the head of HR
  • A letter demanding HR reforms was signed by 100 Ubisoft Toronto employees and sent to the studio's head, Alexandre Parizeau
  • An investigation was launched by the Guillemot family into Beland, but Beland resigned without co-operating
Given how incestuous the game development industry is, I suspect we are going to see more stories come to light at other studios. Thoughts on this? Anyone work for Ubisoft and want to voice their thoughts or experiences?

Link: https://kotaku.com/ubisoft-employees-ha ... 1844277486
not just Ubi Toronto but Montreal, a couple of US studios and the HQ in France
there's more coming out from the Montreal studio the past few days. Ubisoft is done, at least the Montreal studio
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Dec 11, 2006
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sumtimw0ng wrote: not just Ubi Toronto but Montreal, a couple of US studios and the HQ in France
there's more coming out from the Montreal studio the past few days. Ubisoft is done, at least the Montreal studio
Montreal, I thought there was some murmurs that they were required to go to SuperSex every Friday after work. WTH is wrong with these people other than they do not get out much? :facepalm:
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mrtvgame wrote: Montreal, I thought there was some murmurs that they were required to go to SuperSex every Friday after work. WTH is wrong with these people other than they do not get out much? :facepalm:
Montreal is actually a bad place for people with money... too many temptations to the darkside for people that can't control themselves.

Multiple resignations just happened at Ubisoft including the CEO.

Multiple allegations coming out of the entire industry... way to many to name but Warcraft and Smash communities are imploding due to rampant allegations.... Twitch streamers and possible rumors of allegations over at Mixer which lead MS to close it down rather than deal with this situation. 2020 is turning out to be one crazy ass year!!
Deal Addict
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mrtvgame wrote: Montreal, I thought there was some murmurs that they were required to go to SuperSex every Friday after work. WTH is wrong with these people other than they do not get out much? :facepalm:
yes. and drinking nights every week. i heard that some said, before opening the Toronto studio, that they hoped that they don't bring the Montreal culture to Toronto. sadly, when you send the Montreal management to Toronto, the culture comes with it.
also, from the past few days stories, Montreal HR dept threaten the CEO in a meeting because they were painted negatively. that's never a good optic. hoping they get fired and no one hires them and that they lose their HR licence
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mucat wrote: So it is just this guy moving around companies? The game industry definitely has problem but I do not think this is a common problem in game industry.
From the article, he sounds creepy. Can't imagine working for/with a person like this.
As others mentioned earlier, this is definitely an industry wide problem. Some of the stuff coming out of Riot, Blizzard and Ubisoft is pretty disturbing. I'm not surprised though, the industry at large recruits predominantly younger people who have little concept of professional standards. If they had professional standards then they wouldn't be able to crunch them for 80 hour work weeks. Encouraging staff to hang out after hours, having food/drinks catered and whatnot. The gaming industry in general is pretty ridiculous in terms of how it treats workers, lack of professional standards and concentration of profits.
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Redmask wrote: As others mentioned earlier, this is definitely an industry wide problem. Some of the stuff coming out of Riot, Blizzard and Ubisoft is pretty disturbing. I'm not surprised though, the industry at large recruits predominantly younger people who have little concept of professional standards. If they had professional standards then they wouldn't be able to crunch them for 80 hour work weeks. Encouraging staff to hang out after hours, having food/drinks catered and whatnot. The gaming industry in general is pretty ridiculous in terms of how it treats workers, lack of professional standards and concentration of profits.
I know about the ridiculous long working hours for the longest time. The sexual predatory behavior was new to me but OP schooled me good :D. Now, I am suddenly seeing it in the news all the time :)
I guess I can avoid buying from Ubisoft now....not a difficult decision at all.
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Feb 21, 2013
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Redmask wrote: As others mentioned earlier, this is definitely an industry wide problem. Some of the stuff coming out of Riot, Blizzard and Ubisoft is pretty disturbing. I'm not surprised though, the industry at large recruits predominantly younger people who have little concept of professional standards. If they had professional standards then they wouldn't be able to crunch them for 80 hour work weeks. Encouraging staff to hang out after hours, having food/drinks catered and whatnot. The gaming industry in general is pretty ridiculous in terms of how it treats workers, lack of professional standards and concentration of profits.
Another factor, which may not necessarily what happened in Ubisoft, but a lot of devs probably start off in smaller indie developers where there's only likely very light, rudimentary HR policies in place, in a studio where the majority of employees is male. Suddenly they get bought out by a larger company, or they move jobs and whatever toxic practices they had in their smaller workplace just transition with them and they think it's ok...
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