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Ubisoft places 2 executives on leave following misconduct allegations

The two men are among several employees under scrutiny by the video game publisher.

The UbiSoft Entertainment logo is seen at the Paris Games Week (PGW), a trade fair for video games in Paris, France, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files
The UbiSoft Entertainment logo is seen at the Paris Games Week (PGW), a trade fair for video games in Paris, France, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/Files (REUTERS)

Ubisoft Entertainment SA, one of the world’s largest video-game publishers, placed two executives and several other employees on administrative leave as part of a corporate investigation into misconduct allegations made public over the last week, according to people familiar with the situation.

The two high-ranking employees under scrutiny are Tommy François and Maxime Béland, both vice presidents in the group overseeing development of Ubisoft’s games worldwide, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing personnel issues. Each man faced at least three claims of misconduct among a flurry of Twitter posts from named and anonymous accusers.

Neither François nor Béland responded to requests for comment. Stephanie Magnier, a spokeswoman for Ubisoft, wrote in an email: “These are under investigation, so we are not commenting further at this time.”

The #MeToo movement suddenly took hold in the video game industry in the last week as women spoke out on Twitter about abuse and circulated a Medium post compiling allegations. Many of the accusations were lodged against male staff at Ubisoft, the biggest game publisher in France. Ubisoft has more than 16,000 employees in more than a dozen countries and owns blockbuster franchises including Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry.

The recent string of allegations prompted a message from Ubisoft’s human resources chief Thursday on the internal employee network. The message, reviewed by Bloomberg, said Ubisoft is “deeply concerned by these accusations” and encouraged workers to share their accounts with the company. Ubisoft also posted a statement publicly that it would conduct an investigation.

Hundreds of Ubisoft employees commented on the message, many expressing skepticism that the company would take appropriate action. Several wrote that Ubisoft had not said enough, that allegations had been reported in the past and that some had lost trust in HR.