Champion Canadian Gamer Speaks Out Over Harassment at Ubisoft, Elsewhere

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When she arrived in 2009 on the Montreal workplaces of big online game writer Ubisoft, Stephanie Harvey says she suffered sexual harassment or sexism “from Day One.”

Now an expert gamer and five-time world champion, she stated that not solely her former employer however the whole online game trade is lengthy overdue for a serious change in tradition.

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The current sexual-harassment scandal shaking Ubisoft, the main French online game writer and one of many greatest names world wide, is simply the tip of the iceberg, the 34-year-old Quebec native advised AFP.

“I’m satisfied that what’s going down at Ubisoft is inflicting enormous waves in different firms, as a result of this isn’t simply occurring at Ubisoft,” stated Harvey, a champion within the Counter-Strike game world, where she is healthier recognized by her display screen title, “missharvey.”

The motion has taken on “enormous dimensions,” she added.

“It’s additionally going down on-line, on the Internet, the massive streaming firms are being accused, the YouTubers,” stated Harvey, who works on product improvement with an American “e-sports” firm.

Following a wave of accusations of sexism and harassment in opposition to Ubisoft’s management — a few of the firm’s 18,000 workers have described a “local weather of terror” — the group just lately dismissed its Number Two, its human assets director and the top of its Canadian studios.

CEO Yves Guillemot has promised “main modifications in company tradition.”

AFP has obtained and cross-checked a number of different stories of harassment within the online game sector, at Ubisoft and elsewhere, since late June, when their testimony began showing on social media.

One of them recalled being “pinched on the butt and breast” whereas at Ubisoft.

Harvey says she is prepared to be quoted by title as a result of she needs issues to vary within the trade.

A #MeToo ‘Third Wave’

“I might say it occurred to me from Day One,” she stated.

She spent eight years at Ubisoft Montreal, which likes to name itself the “greatest online game studio on the earth,” lastly leaving in 2017.

“The count of occasions I used to be accosted by Ubisoft workers, saying issues like, ‘Oh, you are new, you have to be in human assets; you could not presumably work in gaming’ — it occurred typically,” she stated, evaluating the environment to that of a boys’ locker room.

One day, whereas she was shifting belongings to a distinct workplace, an worker stopped the elevator between flooring and advised her, ‘This is one of the best place to sleep with somebody at Ubisoft,'” she stated. It left her shaken.

But as a prime skilled player since 2005, “missharvey” stated her environment at Ubisoft weren’t that completely different from the gaming atmosphere she knew so nicely.

“For me, it wasn’t only a downside with Ubisoft, it was an issue of a males’s world with few ladies,” she stated, including that in any other case she “cherished” her time on the big French firm.

Harvey typically thinks back to the time when one other gamer “grabbed my ass” throughout an expert occasion 4 years in the past.

“Everything that occurred to me, I put it in a pack. I believed I used to be OK with what had occurred to me in my life. But then the pack opened up once more and I’m not OK with it,” she stated, clearly moved by the reminiscence.

The first high-profile case within the sector dates to “Gamergate” in 2014 — the title given to the cyber-harassment of American game creator Zoe Quinn, three years earlier than the #MeToo motion emerged.

Harvey, a self-described “feminist and activist,” in 2013 co-founded Missclicks, an internet neighborhood that aimed to help ladies within the gaming sector.

She says each Ubisoft and the bigger sector have to “work on firm tradition,” for instance by holding coaching classes on sexist biases or by recruiting further ladies.

She hopes the Ubisoft affair will increase consciousness of the issue of human-resource departments within the sector’s large firms.

While she was still at Ubisoft, Harvey says it by no means occurred to her to complain. “There was zero confidentiality in Human Resources at Ubisoft,” she stated.

“I hope that is solely the start… That they supply the assets and system in Montreal to permit ladies to really feel further revered.”

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