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Ubisoft answers sexual harassment allegations, brings in consultants

Ubisoft, dealing with a swirl of sexual harassment and abuse allegations within its company, will bring in external consultants to investigate.

The company released a statement on June 25 and apologized for the ongoing issue, saying that it will do whatever is necessary, depending on how the investigation plays out.

“Concerning recent allegations raised against certain Ubisoft team members: We want to start by apologizing to everyone affected by this — we are truly sorry,” the statement said. “We are dedicated to creating an inclusive and safe environment for our teams, players, and communities. It is clear we have fallen short of this in the past. We must do better.”

The company said it would not comment on the investigations any further and that it was “auditing our existing policies, processes, and systems to understand where these have broken down, and to ensure we can better prevent, detect, and punish inappropriate behavior.”

On June 24, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail stepped down, announcing that he left “to properly deal with the personal issues in my life.”

Game Director of 'Assassin's Creed Origins' Ashraf Ismail speaks onstage during the Ubisoft E3 2017 conference
Ashraf Ismail speaks onstage during the Ubisoft E3 2017 conference Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Earlier in the week, tweets appeared implicating him in extramarital affairs and showed he was hiding his marital status.

“The lives of my family and my own are shattered,” he said.

Other Ubisoft employees have also been implicated in sexual harassment claims. Gamasutra reported that product and brand marketing manager Andrien Gbinigie and associate public relations director Stone Chin were both accused of “predatory behavior.” Ubisoft told the publication that it was “deeply concerned.”

There has been a spate of workplace-related allegations all around the gaming industry lately. Several people at Twitch said the company hasn’t paid attention to abuse happening within the organization. Twitch later released a statement that it takes “accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct extremely seriously.”

Twitch streamers have been vocal about the issue, even organizing a blackout to raise awareness about it. Jessica Richey, a content creator and streamer, published a spreadsheet with more than 200 stories chronicling alleged instances of abuse, harassment, and assault in the industry.

Ubisoft said that it wants to make sure it makes the right changes.

Two Ubisoft executives and several lower-ranking employees have since been put on leave, according to Bloomberg. All of them had multiple sexual misconduct accusations.

“Our goal is to foster an environment that our employees, partners, and communities can be proud of — one that reflects our values and that is safe for everyone,” the statement said.

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