Scavengers suspends co-founder following workplace abuse allegations

By Dom Peppiatt, Thursday, 28 January 2021 16:12 GMT

After a report exposed a slew of sexual harassment and abuse allegations against the studio, Scavengers has announced it has indefinitely suspended co-founder and creative director Simon Darveau.

A report published by GamesIndustry.biz earlier this week outlined a series of grievous misdemeanors enacted by senior staff at the studio, leading to a “toxic work environment”.

Creative director Simon Darveau and his romantic partner (at the time of the studio’s founding) CEO Amelie Lamarche were reportedly mostly to blame for the toxicity in the Montreal-based studio, known for its work on both Darwin Project and Season. Now, after the report has been published, Scavengers Studio announced that Darveau has been “indefinitely suspended from all responsibilities within the company and from the Board of Directors.”

“Following the toxic workplace allegations brought forward in the media, Scavengers Studio wishes to apologize for the harm caused,” says a statement on the studio’s site (via GamesIndustry.biz). “Allegations such as these are serious, and we are committed to doing better for our employees, our fans, and our partners.”

Amongst the reports concerning Darveau (who founded Spearhead Games and was formerly a designer at Ubisoft), the most serious include: sexually harassing female employees at a work party, his alleged affair with an employee, and discrimination of staff.

The statement above was written by co-founder and CEO Amelie Lamarche, who announced she will also be stepping down as CEO. It’s worth noting that the original report outed Lamarche as a player in the studio’s toxicity – it’s claimed her status as an ex-romantic partner of Darveau made her role as acting HR touchpoint a conflict of interest and that the relationship “impacted her ability to be impartial”.

An external auditing company has been introduced to the studio in order to appraise its workplace culture. The results will be presented to the board of directors.

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