Singapore watchdog probes game giant Ubisoft over harassment claims

The Singapore employment watchdog TAFEP said it began investigating after receiving ‘anonymous feedback containing links to media articles about allegations of workplace harassment and unfair treatment at Ubisoft Singapore’. — Ubisoft

SINGAPORE: Video game giant Ubisoft’s Singapore office is under investigation over claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, a watchdog said, in the latest controversy for the French firm.

The publisher of the blockbuster Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry titles saw some senior staff resign last year after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged.

Gaming website Kotaku last month published allegations of harassment, bullying and racial pay disparities following interviews with 20 current and former employees at Ubisoft Singapore.

The Singapore employment watchdog TAFEP said Tuesday it began investigating after receiving “anonymous feedback containing links to media articles about allegations of workplace harassment and unfair treatment at Ubisoft Singapore”.

It also urged anyone with knowledge of criminal conduct such as sexual harassment and assault to report the incidents to the police.

The current and former employees cited in the Kotaku report spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Two women alleged inappropriate touching and comments, while another worker said: “The salary gap between locals and expats was just insane.”

Ubisoft Singapore said in a statement to AFP it was aware of the allegations made to the watchdog.

“As our discussions with them are ongoing, we do not have anything we can share at this stage,” the statement added.

“Every Ubisoft studio, including Ubisoft Singapore, strives to create and foster a culture that team members and partners can be proud of. We do not and will not tolerate discrimination or abuse.”

Local newspaper the Straits Times said Ubisoft has about 500 employees in the city-state, which is trying to build itself up as a regional hub for tech companies.

The global gaming industry has long been dogged by criticism over its treatment of women and minorities in both games and real life.

Last year’s allegations against Ubisoft saw managers in the company’s Toronto and Montreal studios accused of sexual misconduct.

Senior staff in Brazil, Bulgaria and the United States also faced accusations, with some of the alleged incidents going back years.

Earlier this month, another gaming giant Activision Blizzard announced a management shakeup following employee protests and a California state lawsuit alleging the firm enabled toxic workplace conditions and discriminated against women. – AFP

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