Unity CEO accused of sexual harassment in new lawsuit from former vice president

LewieP

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,242
Anne Evans, a former vice president in human resources at Unity Technologies, has filed a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit against game engine maker Unity Technologies. Her allegations allege sexual harassment by CEO John Riccitiello.

In the lawsuit, Evans alleged that Unity had a “highly sexualized” workplace where executives talked openly about their sexual conquests. On top of that, Evans alleged that Riccitiello solicited her for sex on multiple occasions. Riccitiello has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Statement from Unity:
Unity intends to vigorously defend against the false allegations asserted by Anne Evans. Following a third-party investigation that surfaced facts that Evans engaged in serious misconduct and established multiple instances in which she demonstrated a gross lapse in judgment, Unity terminated her employment. This was an undesirable outcome for Evans, and we had been working with her on the details of her departure when she filed a public lawsuit that includes false and damaging claims against the company, our CEO and a number of our employees. Before and throughout the investigation, Evans had multiple opportunities to share her concerns about her experiences at the company through confidential and objective mechanisms, yet never did. We take these issues seriously at Unity, just as we did when we learned about concerns involving Evans. We do not tolerate harassment, and we have policies in place to address relationships in the workplace.
More details here.

Hard to know for sure where exactly the truth lies between these two contradictory versions of events, but hopefully the lawsuit will result in justice being served.


Tech Crunch has a number of quotes from the lawsuit, like the opening paragraph.


Unity Technologies, the multibillion-dollar gaming engine, is facing a lawsuit from its former VP of global talent acquisition, Anne Evans, who accuses CEO John Riccitiello of sexual harassment. The sexual harassment allegedly took many forms — ranging from making sexist jokes to propositioning her and other employees for sex, to making references to his erect penis and saying, “I want to fuck you. I want to throw you down on the bed and fuck you.”
 
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Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,201
Tech Crunch has a number of quotes from the lawsuit, like the opening paragraph.

Unity Technologies, the multibillion-dollar gaming engine, is facing a lawsuit from its former VP of global talent acquisition, Anne Evans, who accuses CEO John Riccitiello of sexual harassment. The sexual harassment allegedly took many forms — ranging from making sexist jokes to propositioning her and other employees for sex, to making references to his erect penis and saying, “I want to fuck you. I want to throw you down on the bed and fuck you.”
 

bluexy

Freelance Games Journalist
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
2,736
"Why didn't she report?" says the legal arm of a company whose most wealthy and powerful employee has just been accused of sexual harassment. "Clearly she would have felt safe reporting," they go on, while also calling the alleged victim a liar and a fraud. "We take this very seriously," they conclude, "which is why our investigation is already complete and we won't be looking into it any further."
 
OP
OP
LewieP

LewieP

Member
Oct 26, 2017
8,242
Cheers, added to the OP.

"Why didn't she report?" says the legal arm of a company whose most wealthy and powerful employee has just been accused of sexual harassment. "Clearly she would have felt safe reporting," they go on, while also calling the alleged victim a liar and a fraud. "We take this very clearly," they conclude, "which is why our investigation is already complete and we won't be looking into it any further."
Yeah even if her version of events were entirely fabricated (which I see no reason to think at this stage), this is some entirely twisted logic from Unity's statement.
 

Cort

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Nov 4, 2017
1,902
Any sort of praise I've had for Riccitello for EA's new IP push has gone by the wayside now.
 

HK-47

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Oct 25, 2017
2,065
"Why didn't she report?" says the legal arm of a company whose most wealthy and powerful employee has just been accused of sexual harassment. "Clearly she would have felt safe reporting," they go on, while also calling the alleged victim a liar and a fraud. "We take this very clearly," they conclude, "which is why our investigation is already complete and we won't be looking into it any further."
HR is for the company, not the employees. What would reporting it have done for her is what I’m wondering.
 

sabrina

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Oct 25, 2017
4,968
newport beach, CA
"Why didn't she report?" says the legal arm of a company whose most wealthy and powerful employee has just been accused of sexual harassment. "Clearly she would have felt safe reporting," they go on, while also calling the alleged victim a liar and a fraud. "We take this veryseriously" they conclude, "which is why our investigation is already complete and we won't be looking into it any further."
all of this

ugh. This makes me feel dirty for using Unity
 

Dekuman

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
8,627
John Riticello is a business man, who was formerely with EA. His misdeeds should not affect the product as he didn't make it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
10,674
She was afraid to complain against a harasser in an industry that predominately sides with the more powerful harasser, and that's her fault? You don't say, Unity legal team.
 

jrDev

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Mar 2, 2018
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User warned: Trolling a thread about a sensitive subject
Will I get banned if I’m not currently on the side of the alleged victim?
 
Feb 9, 2019
618
Gacha Hell
The sexual harassment allegedly took many forms — ranging from making sexist jokes to propositioning her and other employees for sex, to making references to his erect penis and saying, “I want to fuck you. I want to throw you down on the bed and fuck you.”
Now that's a line even a porn star would be embarassed to deliver.

OT, I know nothing about either of these people's personal lives and it seems to be conflicting claims at this point so I'll withhold judgement for now. Shitty situation for the brand itself though.
 

wwm0nkey

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,831
Hopefully this gets resolved soon, but if he did do it and isn't out of the company, I'm switching to UE4 or Godot
 

sabrina

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Oct 25, 2017
4,968
newport beach, CA
No I don’t...it’s just a bad situation since these things are very delicate and she also unfortunately sounds like a disgruntled employee because she did this after getting terminated...
I don't know if this has occurred to you, but wanting to keep your job has kept a great many people quiet from speaking out on issues actively affecting them. Once job security is off the table, it becomes a different story.

Why? Unity has nothing to do with this.... There are hundreds of people who worked on it, i am sure this guy is not one of them
I'm well aware. It's just unfortunate that someone at the top is involved in this, and it'll be telling of the company management how they continue to handle this.
 

jrDev

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Mar 2, 2018
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Are the mods serious with that warning? It’s considered trolling if I make a post asking if I will get banned for the EXACT reason of having a reservation about a sensitive subject?
 

Tokikko

Member
Oct 29, 2017
42
I'm well aware. It's just unfortunate that someone at the top is involved in this, and it'll be telling of the company management how they continue to handle this.
Sadly you can find shitty people anywhere. Hopefully if the accusations prove to be true, they will deal with him quickly.
 

GlowingBovine

Member
Nov 27, 2017
201
Awful, I sincerely hope this is properly taken care of, there's been far too many stories of higher ups at companies doing this shit.

But I gotta wonder, for people (like me) who no longer support any games published by THQ no matter the developer, what would the stance be on something like this if they did back him? Stop buying unity games all together? That's a lot of indie devs.
 

Kamon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
201
No I don’t...it’s just a bad situation since these things are very delicate and she also unfortunately sounds like a disgruntled employee because she did this after getting terminated...
Just checking: Are you aware that less than 10% of rape accusations are false?

While the Internet may tend to default to siding with the victim, a court of law holds no such biases. If she's found to be lying out of her ass in court, she'll be in serious trouble. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that she is merely making stuff up because she got fired. There are ways ex-employees can get back at their old employers that don't involve committing perjury.
 

wwm0nkey

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,831
Awful, I sincerely hope this is properly taken care of, there's been far too many stories of higher ups at companies doing this shit.

But I gotta wonder, for people (like me) who no longer support any games published by THQ no matter the developer, what would the stance be on something like this if they did back him? Stop buying unity games all together? That's a lot of indie devs.
That's a VAST majority of Indie devs tbh
 

FrakEarth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
758
Liverpool, UK
If it's true they were negotiating the terms of her severance when they learned of these allegations that does make this that much more dramatic and more murky. If Unity have documented evidence for her firing would it not also require a conspiracy to fabricate it? If the reasons for her firing are legitimate as far as unity are concerned but we assume the allegations are true, her firing would be disappointing motivation for coming forward.. you'd hope people would out such behaviour because it's wrong, period, as much as that isn't always possible. While anyone in a corporate power structure would have issues rebuking and reporting a man at the top, deputy president of HR is quite a high position: one can imagine direct dealings with Riccitiello but one can also see motive for revenge and libel in the case of a messy separation. It's easy to believe she might have felt she wouldn't be believed, Unity is a huge industry player and Riticello is a veteran of it, but a story like this would be powerful ammunition for competitors and she would have presided over hirings and firings and the rulebook for similar offences. It seems sketchy enough for me to not have the pitchfork whipped out and lit just yet. I'd be curious to see what both sides reveal in the coming days.

Riccitiello has questions to answer but I'm also curious about the alleged serious misconduct. Hugely embarrassing for the company but hopefully the truth will come out.
 

Nanashrew

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,201
No I don’t...it’s just a bad situation since these things are very delicate and she also unfortunately sounds like a disgruntled employee because she did this after getting terminated...
Well, would you go to HR to say that the CEO of the company is sexually harassing you? Keep in mind, HR more often works for the company than they do individual employees, and you have dirt on someone who's at the top of the food chain. HR is likely to side with the company and the CEO.

Plenty often put up with abuse they receive in the workplace to not rock the boat and to keep their job.
 

deepFlaw

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Oct 25, 2017
14,312
Are the mods serious with that warning? It’s considered trolling if I make a post asking if I will get banned for the EXACT reason of having a reservation about a sensitive subject?
Maybe you could have, I dunno, explained your feelings instead of posting something that seemed like you were coming in ready to complain about moderation and pick a fight?

Probably not best to just blindly trust what the company's saying about her, as well. If you want to wait till this all shakes out, you can always just not post.
 

Lusankya

Member
Oct 27, 2017
464
Well, would you go to HR to say that the CEO of the company is sexually harassing you? Keep in mind, HR more often works for the company than they do individual employees, and you have dirt on someone who's at the top of the food chain. HR is likely to side with the company and the CEO.

Plenty often put up with abuse they receive in the workplace to not rock the boat and to keep their job.
Well, she was the Vice President of HR, though. But maybe that's just even more reason for her not to report it as she knows exactly how things are going there.

Unity's answer is really shitty nonetheless, basically calling her a liar outright, the only reason being she didn't use the internal channels to report this issue...
 

jrDev

Banned
Mar 2, 2018
1,528
Just checking: Are you aware that less than 10% of rape accusations are false?

While the Internet may tend to default to siding with the victim, a court of law holds no such biases. If she's found to be lying out of her ass in court, she'll be in serious trouble. Therefore, I find it hard to believe that she is merely making stuff up because she got fired. There are ways ex-employees can get back at their old employers that don't involve committing perjury.
I would’ve hoped 0% are false. But humans are humans, and yes...the internet and social media riles up before everyone has the full details. But I’ll end this discussion here since I’ve been warned.

PS...I’m not saying she’s lying; she could be telling the truth but her termination muddies the waters a little...and I hold my reservations...
 

Nikus

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,939
France
Are the mods serious with that warning? It’s considered trolling if I make a post asking if I will get banned for the EXACT reason of having a reservation about a sensitive subject?
Your post was so clearly a provocation towards the mods, I'm not sure how you could play the victim card now. But go ahead and try if you want, I guess.
 

Slayven

I don’t know what you’re talking about
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
38,038
Are the mods serious with that warning? It’s considered trolling if I make a post asking if I will get banned for the EXACT reason of having a reservation about a sensitive subject?
Your initial post was borderline but the follow up was flippant and showed that maybe you were not engaging in good faith
 

medinaria

Member
Oct 30, 2017
333
Well, would you go to HR to say that the CEO of the company is sexually harassing you? Keep in mind, HR more often works for the company than they do individual employees, and you have dirt on someone who's at the top of the food chain. HR is likely to side with the company and the CEO.

Plenty often put up with abuse they receive in the workplace to not rock the boat and to keep their job.
in addition, let's be clear here, the CEO and the head of HR were in a relationship at the time

I'm sure she was going to be extremely impartial about the sexual harassment claims being filed against her boyfriend that she talks loudly about having sex with all the time, it was definitely going to be a fair process
 

Alucrid

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Oct 25, 2017
5,185
Are the mods serious with that warning? It’s considered trolling if I make a post asking if I will get banned for the EXACT reason of having a reservation about a sensitive subject?
if you actually... cared about whether... or not you... would... get... banned i would imagine you would... message a moderator... asking them since that... would... get you an answer. since... you didn't... do... that... and now you're just acting all... pissy i assume that you just like having a... victim... complex
 

FrakEarth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
758
Liverpool, UK
The techcrunch article details more of the allegations and it's even messier than I realised

Earlier this year, Unity released a company-wide survey about culture, the lawsuit states. Evans says Unity’s head of Americas recruiting, Natalie Mulay, wanted to share with her comments people had made about Evans. Evans, however, believed that the results were improperly accessed and reported it to Unity’s head of people.
The company began investigating the unauthorized access and talked with Mulay, the lawsuit alleges. Mulay then allegedly threatened to smear Evans in retaliation, saying she would accuse Evans of sexual harassment since they “had a very brief consensual sexual relationship in early 2016). Mulay ended up following through and making an official allegation against Evans. Evans was cleared of the charges but investigators found she had accepted gifts in the past from Mulay, which the company said was against its policy. Evans, however, says otherwise and pointed to how Brown had accepted gifts from Riccitiello.
 

Absent

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Oct 26, 2017
2,196
Earlier this year, Unity released a company-wide survey about culture, the lawsuit states. Evans says Unity’s head of Americas recruiting, Natalie Mulay, wanted to share with her comments people had made about Evans. Evans, however, believed that the results were improperly accessed and reported it to Unity’s head of people.

The company began investigating the unauthorized access and talked with Mulay, the lawsuit alleges. Mulay then allegedly threatened to smear Evans in retaliation, saying she would accuse Evans of sexual harassment since they “had a very brief consensual sexual relationship in early 2016). Mulay ended up following through and making an official allegation against Evans. Evans was cleared of the charges but investigators found she had accepted gifts in the past from Mulay, which the company said was against its policy. Evans, however, says otherwise and pointed to how Brown had accepted gifts from Riccitiello.
That internal email does go full smear campaign mode.
 

goldenpp73

Banned
Dec 5, 2017
2,144
I have a question, in the event the president who runs an engine company did something like this (or worse) and didn't lose their job, would people boycott the entire engine? Don't think I've ever seen that situation before.