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Former Ubisoft executives detained by police in French sexual assault investigation

Former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët and editorial VP Tommy François were among the five questioned

A designer works on characters from Ubisoft’s forthcoming video game “Assassin’s Creed Mirage” at the Ubisoft studio in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on October 3, 2023. World capital of wine, Bordeaux has become a stronghold of French video games, as evidenced by the release on October 5, 2023 of the last chapter of the “Assassin’s Creed” saga, developed for the first time in Ubisoft’s local studios. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Five former Ubisoft employees were detained in France this week — three on Tuesday, and two more on Wednesday, according to a report from French newspaper Libération. Former Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoët and former editorial vice president Tommy François were among the five people detained and questioned by French police.

In 2020, current and former Ubisoft workers accused the company of creating a culture that normalized sexual assault and harassment and allowed it to thrive; multiple top-level employees were accused. In the weeks and months following the allegations, several people resigned or were fired, including Maxime Béland, a former creative director and editorial vice president at Ubisoft Toronto accused of choking a female employee; Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a fan; HR lead Cécile Cornet; and Ubisoft’s Canadian studio director Yannis Mallat.

Beyond Hascoët and François, Libération did not name the three other people questioned by police.

The investigation began in 2021 after French union Solidaires Informatique and several impacted employees filed complaints regarding Ubisoft and its culture. Police reportedly spoke to 50 current and former Ubisoft workers over a year, according to the French paper, before taking the five former employees into custody this week.

Hascoët, François, and others do not appear to have been charged, but French law allows police to arrest and hold people suspected of a crime for up to 24 hours without a charge. Polygon has reached out to the Bobigny, France, judicial court and to the victims’ lawyer, Maude Beckers. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

Beckers told Libération, after she left the police station, that the culture at Ubisoft goes beyond just individual bad behavior and extends into “systemic sexual violence,” in which the company was complacent.

A Ubisoft representative issued the following statement to Polygon: “Ubisoft has no knowledge of what has been shared and therefore can’t comment.”