Quantic Dream executives recently appeared in a Paris court as part of its ongoing defamation lawsuit against French publications Le Monde and Mediapart. But according to a May 31 report, things didn’t go smoothly for the studio behind games like Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human.
Independent French union Solidaires Informatique reports that co-CEOs David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière both exhibited strange behaviour during their testimonies.
Cage allegedly cried on the stand, stomping his feet, screaming about interferences to his business and damage to his honour, and eventually storming out of the court room altogether.
Near the end of his own testimony, de Fondaumière reportedly looked at the judges and asked, “But I’m not under oath, so can I lie?” before claiming Quantic Dream was seriously damaged by the stories about its toxic work environment. Solidaires Informatique says de Fondaumière didn’t provide proof of these damages.
Quantic Dream did not respond to Kotaku’s request for comment.
These legal escapades stretch back to January 2018, when several reports were published in the French press concerning working conditions at Quantic Dreams. The stories alleged that Quantic Dream’s work culture was rife with toxic behaviour, the most prevalent being a massive internal trove of photoshopped images depicting employees in sexual situations and altered to look like Nazis. These images reportedly dated all the way back to 2013 and were sometimes even displayed in open areas of the Quantic Dream offices.
Studio executives refuted these details, with de Fondaumière telling Kotaku at the time that he was “furious and outraged” by the accusations. Kotaku learned in April 2018 that Quantic Dream was suing newspaper Le Monde and website Mediapart, two of the French publications responsible for the reporting. In December 2019, a French court ordered Quantic Dream to pay a former IT manager a total of €7,000 (around $8,500 USD ($10,902)) over the incident, but that decision was overturned earlier this year after no link was found between the dissemination of the photos and the plaintiff’s decision to leave the company.
In addition to the actions of its executives during last week’s court appearance, Quantic Dream reportedly provided the court with documents that were supposed to defend them against accusations of social security fraud by showing the company acting in good faith in the termination of a former employee. However, upon closer inspection, these documents apparently revealed irregularities in the process that the defence believed highlighted a possible incident of unlawful dismissal. If true, this would be an own goal of monumental proportions.
A verdict in Quantic Dream’s lawsuit against Le Monde and Mediapart is expected on July 8, according to Solidaire Informatique.