Assassin's Creed Valhalla creative director fired after misconduct investigation

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,587   +600
Staff member
A hot potato: The latest casualty in Ubisoft's struggle to clean up its "toxic workplace" has fallen. The company fired Ashraf Ismail from his position as the creative director for Assassin's Creed Valhalla. The former Assassin's Creed Origins director is accused of "having extramarital affairs under false pretenses."

Ashraf Ismail was one of several Ubisoft employees who stepped down and took a leave of absence in June when claims of "misconduct and inappropriate behavior" surfaced. A fan had accused him of lying about being married so he could pursue a relationship with her.

While Ismail was on leave, Ubisoft investigated the claims and found them to be true. Kotaku obtained an internal memo confirming the allegations and announcing Ismail's firing.

"Following an investigation by an external firm, it was determined that Ashraf's employment with Ubisoft had to be terminated," reads the document.

The company withheld the details of the investigation citing confidentiality concerns.

The conflict started on June 21, when a streamer named Dani Porter Bridges accused Ismail on Twitter of lying about being married to initiate a romantic relationship with her. She claims to have spoken with several other women in the gaming community who've had similar experiences with him.

Three days later, Ismail issued a tweet saying he was stepping down from his duties at Ubisoft to "deal with his personal issues." He has since deleted his Twitter account (screen capture below).

Ismail started with Ubisoft in 2009. Before Valhalla, he served as co-director for Assassin's Creed Origins. He is not the first to fall in the Ubisoft dustup.

Vice Presidents Maxime Béland and Tommy François were placed on disciplinary leave in June pending an investigation into allegations of a "pattern of abuse." They have since resigned. Later that month, three more senior executives at the company stepped down from their positions. Two of them resigned, and one was moved to a new post.

The ax has been falling as part of CEO Yves Guillemot's efforts to clean up the company. The Verge notes that last month, Guillemot promised sweeping changes to address the company's toxic culture. These efforts include creating a new position to oversee workplace culture and giving bonuses to team leaders who can demonstrate the ability to foster a "positive and inclusive work environment."

Image credit: Marko Aliaksandr

Permalink to story.

 

Vrmithrax

Posts: 1,546   +584
Really don't see how this is any of his employers business. He has basically been sacked for dishonesty. What a ****ing sham.
If he used his job and influence to get himself into that affair, it's fair game. If it was a bartender or hairdresser or something that had absolutely nothing to do with his job and career, you would be right. But this was someone (a streamer) in the gaming community, so it becomes much more likely there were some improprieties and influences from his position or reputation within that community that were a factor in the relationship - even if only in facilitating the way they met initially. Abuse of power and influence is frowned upon, in general, in most corporate settings.

There is also the problem of the court of public opinion. He was a well-known and visible member of the Ubisoft family. To have this come out publicly is embarrassing to the company, and an employee that is tarnishing the reputation of a company is typically fair game to be summarily dismissed. You are representing your company in a public setting, and creating a big black mark on your company's reputation is a failure in that representation. Happens all over the corporate world, doesn't really matter what business a company is involved in. Bad press is bad press.
 

Shaitan

Posts: 69   +56
Why the hell does having an affair is considered toxic behaviour but having a bonus like Bobby "Cancer" Kotick while firing 800 people is Ok?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Like
Reactions: havok585 and 3ogdy

etempest

Posts: 47   +32
This what social media has done, your employer can now regulate your after hours behavior.
So having multiple affairs with employee's your are over or employee's that report to bosses your are over. That's violation of internal company ethic violations for starters.
 

candle_86

Posts: 551   +479
So having multiple affairs with employee's your are over or employee's that report to bosses your are over. That's violation of internal company ethic violations for starters.
Not an Ubisoft employee he had an affair with, it was a journalist.

The point is your private life should be none of your employer's bussiness. I don't allow anyone I work with it for to be on my Facebook and I don't use Twitter, and I keep my Facebook mostly private including you can't tag me in stuff. It's because what I do off the clock is none of their damn bussiness.
 
  • Like
Reactions: havok585

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,495   +5,869
The point is your private life should be none of your employer's bussiness.
So what you are saying is don't be the CEO. Because only the CEO represents the business moral conduct.

I would go so far as to say. This conduct should get you fired, no matter your position. Sadly it only gets you in trouble, if you are a high ranking representative of the company. And even then, only if it draws media attention.
 

Xallisto

Posts: 79   +88
If he used his job and influence to get himself into that affair, it's fair game.
If your seeing someone (properly or improperly) the topic of your job is going to come up pretty damned quickly, at what point does it become "abusing his position" it surely can not be the moment he mentions what he does for a living, because then he would never be able to have a relationship ever.

The issue for me is that the private affair should never have been public.

And why is this argument only ever leveled one way at the man involved, I doubt a regular girl off the street has the slightest access to a high level games developer was she not abusing her position as a journalist to get into this relationship as well? Or is it acceptable when women use their position to put themselves in the circles of powerful men?

Also even if he was not married not as though he owed her anything more, so why is that suddenly relevant when he is married?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: candle_86