Ubisoft plans to replace an in-game Watch Dogs: Legion podcast host who has made transphobic comments in the past, Kotaku reports.
Helen Lewis, a London-based journalist who serves as a staff writer for The Atlantic, hosts two episodes of Watch Dogs: Legion’s BuccanEar podcast. However, Ubisoft confirmed that both episodes will be replaced in an upcoming update. The studio said that Lewis’ comments don’t reflect those of either Legion or Ubisoft itself.
“We were made aware of controversial remarks from a journalist whose voice-over performance appears in two in-game podcasts in Watch Dogs: Legion,” a Ubisoft spokesperson told Kotaku. “Neither Ubisoft nor the game reflect this journalist’s viewpoints.”
Ubisoft went on to say that while in-game podcasters are reciting a pre-approved script, it is aware of how the collaboration may seem to some as giving credence to harmful viewpoints.
“The development team worked with an external producer to select speaker profiles for these podcasts and were not aware of the controversy at the time of booking or recording. While the in-game podcasters are following a pre-approved script and are not speaking in their own name or with their own opinions, we understand this collaboration itself may be seen as offensive and we deeply regret any hurt this has caused. In response, we will be replacing these two podcast episodes in an upcoming update and will reinforce our background checks for partners in the future.”
Before joining The Atlantic in July 2019 and while serving as deputy editor of the New Statesman, Lewis penned an op-ed for the New York Times titled “A man can’t just say he has turned into a woman” in July 2017, lambasting self-identifying legislation in the UK. It’s these views that have caused Ubisoft to reexamine and, ultimately, can its relationship with Lewis.
This all comes as Ubisoft has been reckoning with its own issues of sexual misconduct allegations and horrendous working conditions. In September, a month after the company announced plans to shake-up management amid the myriad allegations, CEO Yves Guillemot apologized for the workplace culture, saying “significant steps” have been taken to rectify the issues.
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