Ubisoft Singapore, an office of the French video-game developing firm, is now under investigation following claims of sexual harassment, bullying, and workplace discrimination. The organisation that’s handling the probe is the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), a Singaporean group started up by their Ministry of Manpower and others fighting for worker’s rights.
Unfortunately, this isn’t even close to the first video game development firm to be under scrutiny for such claims. Ubisoft’s competitor Activision Blizzard is going through multiple ongoing allegations involving sexual harassment, even getting sued by California.
These claims even include racial discrimination, as Tafep reports a ‘French ceiling’ that caused only 40% of Ubisoft Singapore’s expert and senior expert roles to be Singaporeans or permanent residents.
When asked about the allegations, managing director of Ubisoft Singapore Darryl Long said: “It’s very important that we can talk about these things and that we acknowledge what’s going on in our industry right now,” he continued, “We need to start to change the way we are perceived and the way we act internally as well.”
These reports may lead to civil sanctions which could lead to blocking the studio from providing new work passes to foreign workers, and the more serious allegations may start a criminal investigation.
The Singaporean office isn’t the only Ubisoft campus under fire. In an anonymous survey of nearly 14,000 Ubisoft employees globally, one out of four workers have either seen or experienced workplace misconduct, and 20% of them reported not feeling safe or respected at work.
Last September, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot put out a statement saying “real change will take time”, acknowledging the diversity concerns and launching initiatives for women and underrepresented individuals.
Managing director Long has acknowledged these statements and responded by saying that they have hired a third-party agency to look further into the matter, and that the studio “does not tolerate harassment, discrimination or misconduct of any kind”, even though the data seems to say otherwise.
To help, Ubisoft Singapore has pledged to the Singapore Women In Tech initiative to increase gender diversity in their office, where women now form half of the studio’s leadership roles.
There is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to gender equality and misogyny in the gaming industry, and we hope to see more direct action soon.