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Senior staff leave gaming firm Ubisoft in harassment probe

Ubisoft is one of the world's largest video game publishers with a portfolio including Assassin's Creed and Far Cry
Ubisoft is one of the world's largest video game publishers with a portfolio including Assassin's Creed and Far Cry Frederic J. BROWN AFP
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Paris (AFP)

French gaming company Ubisoft's second most powerful executive is among more senior staff to have left the firm as it pursues an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations, it said Sunday.

Last month the company, one of the world's largest video game publishers with a portfolio including Assassin's Creed and Far Cry, launched a probe after allegations of sexual misconduct were shared online.

Serge Hascoet, chief creative officer and the company's second-in-command, has now resigned along with human resources director Cecile Cornet, Ubisoft said in a statement.

The managing director of the company's Canadian branch, Yannis Mallat, also stepped down.

"The recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for him (Mallat) to continue in this position," it said.

The announcement follows the departures of another two top executives earlier in July, after current and former employees used social media to denounce predatory behaviour by managers.

"Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees," said CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot.

"This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviours are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised -- and never will," he said, adding that he was "committed to implementing profound changes across the company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture".

Guillemot will take over Hascoet's role temporarily as he oversees a staffing overhaul, the statement said.

Ubisoft, which counts 18,000 employees worldwide, is the latest video game company to face sexual harassment allegations.

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

This was encapsulated in the so-called "gamergate" controversy in the US in 2014, which saw critics of the way women were depicted in games receive death and rape threats, prompting calls to reform the industry's culture.

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