French authorities have detained five former executives of Ubisoft, including former VP Tommy Francois and CEO Yves Guillemot’s former right-hand head of creative, Serge Hascoët, for questioning in a criminal investigation. The arrests were made on October 3 and have been corroborated by independent sources. The former executives will provide testimony to law enforcement as part of the detentions, which could be used in a potential criminal trial.
The investigation follows allegations that first emerged in 2020 and involved interviews with over 50 current and former employees. Hascoët, who had been with Ubisoft for 32 years, was responsible for the creative direction of games and franchises. Francois, who reported to Hascoët, oversaw a database of artwork and research used for inspiration in game development.
Reports by media outlets accused both men of sexual misconduct and fostering a misogynistic work environment. Hascoët allegedly made sexual comments and exhibited suggestive behavior during meetings, while Francois was accused of attempting to forcibly kiss a female colleague. Both men left the company in July 2020, but Ubisoft did not confirm if they were fired.
In June 2021, the French union Solidaires Informatique Jeu Vidéo, along with multiple victims, filed complaints against Ubisoft’s former head of human resources, Cecile Cornet, for alleged institutional harassment. Cornet was accused of failing to maintain a safe work environment and turning a blind eye to misconduct. Cornet reportedly told staff that toxic management was tolerated as long as the managers achieved results.
The outcome of the interrogations could lead to the former executives, including Hascoët, being required to present their testimony before a judge. It remains unclear if any current executives, such as Guillemot, have been questioned by the police as part of the investigation. Ubisoft has not commented on the recent developments.