START/SELECT: 2020’s Lessons in Class and Gaming: An Industry of Abuse

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Content Warning: This article discusses sexual abuse, racism and suicide. Please refer to the end of the article for resources. 

Developers, journalists and streamers have bravely come forward this year with their stories and experiences of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by powerful men in the gaming industry. Alongside these survivors’ accounts, tales of rampant and virulent racism have also surfaced, exposing some mainstream gaming companies to be archaic, bigoted and morally reprehensible.

Prolific games writer Chris Avellone, Ubisoft Vice Presidents Tommy François and Maxime Béland and “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” Creative Director Ashraf Ismail are just a few of the most prominent figures implicated for their gross sexual misconduct. The latter three, all Ubisoft employees, were fired after an outpouring of accusations. One particularly vitriolic instance of racism at Ubisoft came to light this summer, giving the public — and Ubisoft game consumers especially — a clearer idea of the deeply toxic work environment fostered by the corporation. 

The fact that Ubisoft of all gaming companies should be at the center of these abuses strikes me as disheartening — and revealing — about the face of gaming in 2020. I wrote critically of Ubisoft some weeks ago concerning their contradictory practices: how they …

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