Update: Journalist Reportedly Blacklisted Over Quantic Dream Story
Update: Le Monde journalist William Audureau says he has been "blacklisted" by Sony for his piece on the studio's reportedly toxic studio environment. Audureau says that this notification has come from sources, and that this activity is common in the games industry in France.
In a reply to someone asking for proof, Audureau replied in English, "No proof to share, sorry. Sony doesn't send any 'Congratulations, you've been blacklisted!' greeting card."
[Source: William Audureau]
Original Story: Quantic Dream, the studio behind cinematic adventure games like Heavy Rain and the upcoming Detroit: Become Human, is accused of having a toxic work environment that involves sexual misconduct, as well as sexist, racist, and homophobic comments aimed at its staff.
Reports came from three separate French outlets today: Le Monde, Canard PC, and Mediapart, all of which corroborate these claims. According to Le Monde, five former employees filed a complaint in spring 2017 when an employee was circulating degrading images involving other staff members. In February 2017, an IT manager discovered 600 photoshopped images that depicted employees in homophobic, sexist, or offensive ways, including Nazi symbols or crude imagery. These files date back to 2013, with some even being displayed in open spaces around the office.
Studio heads David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumièr strongly deny the allegations, with Cage reportedly saying that he is "shocked" by them. Although they were both aware of the photoshopped images, they say they didn't know of the more offensive ones.
Le Monde reports that allegations also include sexual misconduct at parties, such as Fondaumièr forcing kisses on women or having generally sleazy behavior. Long work hours and racism were also among the complaints. For example, two sources told the French paper that after watching a surveillance video of a burglary at the company, Cage asked a Tunisian employee if one of the robbers was his cousin. Cage has since responded to these claims, calling them "absurd."
Cage gave a statement in response to the allegations of homophobia and racism, which you can read below:
You want to talk about homophobia? I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights. You want to talk about racism? I work with Jesse Williams, who fights for civil rights in the USA... Judge me by my work.
Employee accounts describe Cage as hard to work with and that there is a high turnover rate at the 180-person company.
Last year, Quantic Dream faced controversy for its trailer for Detroit: Become Human, due to its depiction of both domestic and child abuse.
These allegations are saddening to hear about, since no work environment should ever be toxic or take aim at its workers. I honestly find Cage's response disappointing and embarrassing. Pointing to his projects and saying he's worked alongside activists for LGBT rights or civil rights is unrelated, and doesn't mean anything when it comes to his supposed actions. I wonder if the allegations would at all impact the release of Detroit: Become Human. Should we hear more, we'll update this article.