Ubisoft group says Yves Guillemot has "sidelined" its demands as CEO responds to open letter
Over 1,000 current and former staff claim Assassin's Creed publisher "continues to protect and promote known offenders and their allies"
The group behind the open letter to Ubisoft's management has criticised CEO Yves Guillemot for failing to address their points and demands.
The original letter was published earlier this week, and called for the Assassin's Creed publisher to remove all offenders from the company and for industry-wide collaboration on new reporting processes.
GamesIndustry.biz has been told that, at the time of writing, over 1,000 current and former Ubisoft staff from 32 of the publisher's global studios have signed the letter.
CEO Yves Guillemot reacted to this letter in an email sent to all Ubisoft staff, as shared by Axios' Stephen Totilo on Twitter. GamesIndustry.biz has verified the contents of this email.
The letter mostly reiterated previous statements from Guillemot -- in particular the one he released in the wake of the Télégramme article -- saying that the company "made important progress over the past year." It also repeated Ubisoft's initial statement following the open letter about taking "the issues it raises seriously."
The statement also listed changes at the company over the past year, once again mostly reiterating measures that had been previously announced. It did add that a "new company wide survey" will be launched by the end of 2021 and that the company is currently looking for a new VP of global employee relations.
Guillemot added that Ubisoft will provide an update on these matters in Q3, "including next steps on the Values Project, D&I and [its] HR roadmap."
"Yesterday's letter expresses concern from employees who want to make Ubisoft a better place," Guillemot said. "We have heard clearly from this letter that not everyone is confident in the processes that have been put in place to manage misconduct reports. This is a top priority for Anika [Grant, chief people officer], who continues to ensure they are robust and independent."
Guillemot concluded by offering for any member of staff to reach out to him personally, or other members of management.
However, the group behind the original letter has reached out to GamesIndustry.biz with a final response, in which it says the "majority of our demands were sidelined and few of our points seem to have been addressed."
"We are aware that the company has made some improvements, and we are happy to hear that Yves and the leadership team agree that it is not enough," the group continued.
"However, Ubisoft continues to protect and promote known offenders and their allies. We see management continuing to avoid this issue. It is also worth clarifying that an invitation to reach out to company management personally is not the same as having a collective seat at the table."
The group said it "[looks] forward to a full response" and reiterated the issues and demands the letter raised, emphasising the need for cross-industry collaboration on ground rules and processes for how these offences should be handled in future.
"By being the first to start this collaboration Ubisoft has the opportunity to be at the forefront of creating a better future for the games industry," the letter concluded. "We demand that this work be done in collaboration with employees at all levels.
"We want to see real, fundamental change within Ubisoft and across the industry, for the sake of our members. Again, we look forward to a response that addresses all the issues raised and properly acknowledges our demands."
Additionally, a member of the group told us: "Even though change has been happening and there seems to be a major restructuring happening internally, it's hypocritical of management to say that they're working on it while still harboring, protecting, permitting, and shuffling around known toxic and abusive people to other positions of power. Morale and trust is low.
"It's exhausting, frustrating and it counters the messaging they give us. We cannot be happy or satisfied with this hypocrisy. For the one person who signed there are countless others who simply were too terrified. Do better or keep losing good people."
In its original letter, the group also showed support for the Activision Blizzard group that has been protesting over the company's response to the lawsuit regarding alleged discrimination and harassment of its employees.
Additional reporting by Marie Dealessandri