You don’t change a winning team, even when it includes a person accused of sexual harassment. This is the pill that Ubisoft wants its developers to swallow. After announcing a new opus ofAssassin’s Creed taking place in feudal Japan, Ubisoft is also relaunching its controversy machine. Quite simply because the director of the Assassin’s Creed Red project is none other than Jonathan Dumont, accused of harassment since 2020. A member of A Better Ubisofta group of employees campaigning for internal change, confided in at thegamer.com media on the situation at Ubisoft Quebec and the boycott of the project by certain developers.
The source, anonymous, spoke about the responsibility of Jonathan Dumont in many departures at Ubisoft: “Dumont was the reason for the departure of several of my colleagues. Whether it’s because of sexual advances, belittlement, fear of him, or seeing his behavior when he was in a bad mood.” But she also denounces Ubisoft’s inaction in the face of the accusations that have weighed on the project manager for two years: “His outbursts created a climate of fear known for years in the studio and went unpunished for a long time.” Even if the source specifies that Jonathan Dumont would have made efforts to “improve”. Despite everything, these supposedly intolerable actions are still very present in the minds of the developers: “Some members of the Quebec studio asked not to work on Red because of his position on the project.”
A fed up all the more present that it is not a question of isolated and unknown actions. Ubisoft has been dragging accusations within its workforce for years. Some employees, because of their name or their status, benefited from privileges and blankets before voices were raised to denounce them. And although Ashraf Ismail, creative director ofAssassin’s Creed Valhalla, was fired after an investigation, and that Serge Hascoët, director of content, resigned after accusations of harassment and sexual assault, Ubisoft remains gangrenous. According to the anonymous source, A Better Ubisoft would be aware “of nine alleged abusers still employed by Ubisoft today“. A few days before the Ubisoft Forward, the militant collective had highlighted the progress “painfully slow” put in place to make the work environment less toxic.
Ubisoft pleads for a second chance
Asked by thegamer.com, the company responded through the voice of its CEO, Yves Guillemot. According to him, the various accused employees were “cleared or sanctioned appropriately”. And if certain problematic names still resonate in the corridors, on the side of the CEO, we assure that their presence is justified: “Ubisoft takes these allegations extremely seriously. While I cannot comment on specific cases, I can assure you that any team member named in a report who remains with Ubisoft has had their case rigorously reviewed and either cleared or subject to appropriate disciplinary action, and received an individualized action plan to support and monitor his progress.“Second chances that are not to everyone’s taste since some developers at Ubisoft Quebec still do not want to work under the orders of Jonathan Dumont, however repentant he may be.