Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has responded to an open letter signed by hundreds of current and former employees of the company earlier this week in solidarity with Activision Blizzard workers demanding change across the game industry. The open letter was penned following a recent lawsuit alleging discrimination and abuse at Activision Blizzard, and – among other points – voiced a lack of satisfaction with Ubisoft’s response to the allegations of discrimination and harassment that have emerged over the past year or so.
Axios reporter Stephen Totilo has posted a copy of Guillemot’s email to all employees in response to the open letter on Twitter, which you can see in full below. The CEO says that the leadership team reviewed the letter and that they “take the issues it raises seriously”, adding that he wants to “personally reiterate [their] commitment to creating real and lasting change at Ubisoft.”
Guillemot has also detailed some specific changes that have been implemented at the company since last summer. “We have made important progress over the past year,” he writes. “Since last summer we have implemented new anonymous reporting tools, revamped our HR processes including new global policies to prevent and manage discrimination, retaliation, harassment, installed a new code of conduct, rolled out mandatory training, established a content review group and are bringing in new leadership across major studios, HR, D&I [Diversity and Inclusion], Editorial, and Production.
“These are important steps forward, but this is a long process, and there is still more work to be done.”
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot emailed all employees today about yesterday’s open letter:
“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” pic.twitter.com/P6T22vS5cL
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) July 29, 2021
Guillemot additionally cites initiatives like over 300 “listening sessions” with more than 1,500 Ubisoft team members, a company-wide survey, and global audit launched over the past year in the email. He also says that new sessions are coming and another survey will take place before the year’s up, and that the company is currently in the process of recruiting a new vice president of global employee relations. Further to this, the CEO says the studio will be “creating more visibility” and offering more leadership support for its Employee Resource Group.
The email doesn’t appear to address, however, certain points raised in the employees’ open letter. For example, the letter expresses frustration at the company’s handling of those implicated by allegations, saying that the “cycle” of letting them resign, be promoted, or moved to other studios and teams without facing repercussions “needs to stop”. In the letter, the employees said that they had “seen nothing more than a year of kind words, empty promises, and an inability or unwillingness to remove known offenders” and that they “no longer trust [the company’s] commitment to address these issues at their core”.
Here’s the letter in full. It doesn’t just stand with AB workers, doesn’t just criticize Ubisoft bosses. It calls for industry-wide action and change, with publishers and developers getting involved. pic.twitter.com/WMNmRHjrq0
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) July 28, 2021
Last year, several Ubisoft executives resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, with Guillemot saying in a statement at the time that “Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees. This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviours are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised – and never will. I am committed to implementing profound changes across the company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture.”
In his email of this week, Guillemot says employees can expect to see another update in its third fiscal quarter (between the beginning of October and end of December), which will include the company’s next steps on its Values Project, D&I, and HR roadmap.