Ashraf Ismail, former creative director for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, fired for "inappropriate advances" toward fans

Ashraf Ismail, former creative director for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, fired for "inappropriate advances" toward fans
"And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust!"


Former Ubisoft employee accused of infidelity, exploiting industry position

One month after stepping down from his position as Assassin's Creed Valhalla creative director, Ashraf Ismail has been terminated following accusations of making "inappropriate advances towards young Assassin's Creed fans."

Confirmed by Gamasutra, this comes as a result of an internal investigation at Ubisoft following the initial claims late June. Even though the victims are described as "young," it doesn't appear that they are minors.

According to one victim, Dani Bridges, "If someone is routinely seeking out partners who are 8-18 years younger than them and fans of theirs, that person is seeking out people they can take advantage of. They are abusing their position of power. It's not rape, but that does not make it okay."

Ismail didn't deny the accusations and offered an apology that has now since been deleted.

Ismail isn't the only one at Ubisoft fired for misconduct this summer, as over the last two months, Ubisoft has fired over six high-profile employees with reasons varying from physical assault, sexual harassment, and attempted drugging among others.

Ismail is only the latest to be relieved of his duties following an alarmingly high number of accusations and victims coming forward from all over the video game industry, not just Ubisoft. However, in Ubisoft's case, there is (hopefully now "was") a malicious culture of cyclical abuse and misconduct from those leveraging their positions as both direct superiors and industry leaders.

According to an anonymous source speaking to Gamasutra, Ubisoft fostered a "Mafia-like" culture of rampant cronyism where promotions and incentives were granted only those willing submit to or enforce the status-quo of "systemic misconduct."

In addition to accusations of authorities exploiting their position over subordinates, those with influence are then accused of enabling said exploitation by refusing to take action and quietly sweeping conflicts away. Many of those afflicted are dubious of Ubisoft's "deep concern" and promise of retribution.

"Until we see the company act on people like this without a victim coming forward publicly," said one anonymous Ubisoft employee, "I have no trust it's not just a show designed to protect our image."

This sort of behavior isn't limited to just the core industry itself; many cases exist of those whose career is centered around video games, such as streamers and YouTubers, abusing their status as established creators within their media.

A once lauded member of the Super Smash Bros. community, Sky Scott Williams was accused of not only owing over $200,000 in loans from other community members but also exploiting his position as a content-creator over those living in the now-infamous "Sky Mansion."

Just like Ubisoft, Sky Mansion tenants were divided into distinct, if not unspoken, castes of the favored and the non. Those who Sky deemed worthy were free to harass and abuse others with impunity. There were even accusations of underage grooming. This on top of Sky's tendencies to threaten eviction and harsh punishments for transgressions, such as having a guest without prior notice.

In any case, it remains to be seen just how much of an effect Ubisoft and other company's efforts will have on the cases of abuse, whether reported or not.

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Jose is a left-handed techno-mancer with an affinity for IPAs, big dogs, and black-and-white movies. Rebels are scum, Empire for life.
Gamer Since: 2004
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Currently Playing: Wargame: Red Dragon, Battlefield V
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