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One employee, “Lisa,” received a valuable piece of advice from a mentor before she entered the video game industry. He told her that sexual harassment was rampant, and to be prepared to speak out.
“He said, ‘It can be hard, but never hesitate to report it. It’s not acceptable.’ ”
She now looks out for younger female employees, and gives them the talk when she feels they are in danger.
“A new girl started a few months ago, before COVID,” Lisa said. “She was young and very pretty. My first instinct was to warn her, ‘There are creeps at the studio.’
“It’s part of the culture, and always there, but as women and minorities you learn not to react. Half the things, I don’t see anymore. I got used to it.”
That said, Lisa views her overall experience at Ubisoft as positive. She has met good people, and often worked with good managers on stimulating projects — with one or two exceptions. She is now a manager herself and able to actively contribute to creating a positive work environment for others.
She thinks Ubisoft’s ability to move forward comes down to accountability.
“It’s about showing, first of all, that there are consequences,” she said, “and not just saying, ‘Let me get rid of the head of studio,’ or cutting a few heads off. It needs to be on all levels, zero tolerance.”
Sarah Bédard offers sexual harassment sensitivity training, and provides mediation to employees and management in various companies and industries. The non-profit organization she works for, Le Groupe d’aide et de l’information sur l’harcèlement sexuel de la province du Québec, has existed for 40 years.