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Ubisoft CEO issues apology for past misconduct ahead of Ubisoft Forward event

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has delivered a long-awaited statement on the controversy that’s arisen around Ubisoft over the last several months, apologizing both for the actions of Ubisoft employees accused of misconduct back in June and for harmful imagery in a new Tom Clancy mobile game.

The video was shared on Ubisoft’s Twitter account today ahead of its Ubisoft Forward game highlight reel, but notably its comments on months-old allegations won’t be included in the live broadcast due to what Ubisoft calls “timing constraints.” In a follow-up tweet, Ubisoft says it is “working to ensure” the statement will be attached to the on-demand version of the broadcast.

In the video posted to Twitter, Guillemot shares that the company has taken action against staff members found to have violated its values and is taking steps to improve diversity and inclusivity at all levels of the company.

“I am truly sorry to everyone who was hurt. We have taken significant steps to remove or sanction those who violated our values and code of conduct and we are working to improve our systems and processes.”

There’s a longer blog post explaining those initiatives in detail, but so far Ubisoft’s two-pronged approach includes a doubled investment in its Ubisoft Graduate Program specifically focused on creating opportunities for underrepresented groups, and a new edition of its Womxn Develop at Ubisoft mentorship program geared toward attracting and developing diverse new talent for its studios.

“We are at the start of a long journey,” says Guillemot. “Real change will take time. But I am determined to do everything in my power to ensure everyone at Ubisoft feels welcomed, respected, and safe and to rebuild the trust or teams, fans, and players have in us.”

Initial allegations against two Ubisoft employees came to light in late June, but quickly were followed by more allegations of misconduct, abuse, assault, and racism made against Ubisoft staff by those both with and outside of Ubisoft itself. In the months following, some of the accused have resigned, including executive level staff, while others have been dismissed by Ubisoft following investigations.

Despite the action, comments from many current and former Ubisoft staff suggest that the allegations were not news to Ubisoft leadership this summer, and that the studio has long fostered a toxic culture by protecting abusers within.

Guillemot also, without naming the game, apologized for inappropriate content included in a “recent mobile game.” That game, of course, is Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad and the inappropriate content in question is its use of a symbol historically used by the Black Power movement (and recently Black Lives Matter) alongside imagery of protests to represent the game’s fictional terrorist group. 

Ubisoft issued an apology via social media shortly after the game launched, and pledged to remove the Raised Fist symbol. The game itself was helmed by studio manager (and Guillemot’s son) Charlie Guillemot, who issued an internal statement at the time saying the intro video would be removed in its entirety. 

In today’s statement, Yves Guillemot affirms that, despite this controversy, “Ubisoft stands for equality and respect for all” and pledges an additional donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  

“This kind of oversight cannot happen. We are putting in place safeguards to prevent this from happening in the future. We condemn anyone using our games as a proxy for hate or toxicity. We fully support the Black Lives Matter movement.”