Jason Schreier, a former Kotaku journalist who now works for Bloomberg, tweeted today that he has interviewed more than 40 current and former Ubisoft employees over the past few weeks about allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. The final conclusion is that Ubisoft knew about the problems for many years.
In addition, Schreier broke the news that the creators of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey wanted to make Kassandra the only playable protagonist, but Ubisoft’s marketing department and creative director Serge Hascoet (now out) disagreed, saying that women would not be bought by anyone. Schreier then posted a picture of the PS4 exclusive game Horizon: Dawn Sugon, featuring women, which sold more than 10 million units.
Serge Hascoet, A former creative director of Ubisoft, has previously been swept out of the house by Ubisoft over sexual harassment. Schreier also broke the news about the chief creative director:
Serge Hascoet was one of Aiphieu’s closest friends with U.S. CEO Yves Guillemot, who served as Chief Creative Officer for Decades until resigning this month. With just one word, Hascoet can give the game the green light or cancel the game. Developers will spend months preparing for the Serge meeting.
Developers often exchange stories of their interactions with Hascoet, which is often seen as eccentric and sometimes unkind. Sometimes he would hit the table hard with his head to show that he was unhappy or tired.
Hascoet’s misbehaviour toward women also extends to the inside of the office. At a meeting at Ubisoft’s Paris headquarters, one of the creators was reporting to Hascoet and other Ubisoft decision makers on a major project. As the woman left the room to use the bathroom, Hascoet opened a YouTube video that showed a song depicting a woman of the same name, according to two people on the scene. He paused when the woman walked back to the room. Like other high-level meetings at Ubisoft, no other women were present.
Current and former employees say Hascoet supports bad behavior by shaping the editorial department( Ubisoft’s creative department) into a fraternity. People who work in the department describe pornographic videos on computers and a series of yellow jokes. Five staff members said they had reported Francois to HR several times over the past decade, for sexual offers and touching. A former employee said they wrote an email to the CEO a few years ago to respond to Francois’ question, but soon Francois was promoted.