A collection of "current and former" employees of major industry studio, Ubisoft, have signed an open letter in support of Activision Blizzard employees and criticized companies' responses.
The letter was published in the early afternoon on Wednesday, July 28, and has since been signed by around 500 active or previously employed individuals at Ubisoft. Its opening was written to show support to the employees of the fellow industry leader, Activision Blizzard. The company is currently under fire and facing a lawsuit for its alleged negligence in response to sexual assault and harassment against female employees—much of which has come to light following a two-year investigation by the Calif. state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
"We hear you and want to loudly declare our solidarity with you," the letter reads, addressing the affected Activision Blizzard employees, "We believe you, we stand with you and we support you."
It outright dismisses the shock surrounding the recently uncovered allegations at Activision Blizzard—stating, instead, that behavior like this should "no longer be a shock to anyone: employees, executives, journalists, or fans."
"It is clear, from the frequency of these reports, that there is a widespread and deeply ingrained culture of abuse within the industry. It is time to stop being shocked...Those responsible must be held accountable."
It additionally acknowledges that such "revelations" of a toxic—and, by some accounts, dangerous—workplace culture have also been uncovered at Ubisoft "a year ago." To that end, the rest of the letter addresses the company, directly. Employees accuse the company of its own "inability or unwillingness to remove known offenders" by only firing those brought to public awareness and letting the rest "resign or worse, promoted them, moved them from studio to studio, team to team" with no consequences.
"We no longer trust your commitment to address these issues at their core...This is a matter of people's lives, their mental and physical health. By choosing profit over our security you are toying with our lives," the letter read, "We should not have to choose between work and our safety."
As far as steps forward go, the letter demands that "the collective employees at Ubisoft" should have a say in how to progress in the future. It calls upon industry leaders such as Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard to come up with a set of protocols on how to handle reports of the offenses seen in both the recent lawsuit and beyond. However, these decisions must involve "non-management employees" and union representatives in order to ensure "those who are directly affected by these behaviours are leading the change."
"The only way to fix something so ingrained is to remove the pillars that are complicit with it, be it by actively taking part or by supporting it," it read.
The close identified many of the signers as previous employees who "left due to the conditions faced and the lack of action being taken."
Ubisoft, itself, responded only a few hours later.
The company assured fans and workers that it has "carefully read the letter" and respect those currently pushing for change in the industry. They, of course, take the issues the statement raises "very seriously" and claimed to have "made significant and meaningful changes that seek to create a safe and includes work environment for all."
"We absolutely stand behind these efforts and the positive impact they have had on our company culture while also recognizing we must continue to engage with our employees to ensure we are creating a workplace where they feel valued, supported, and most importantly, safe." The company's statement read.
There is currently no word on further action being taken by either party at the time of writing.