After a number of former female Riot Games employees published their experiences working at the company, Riot has released a public statement on Twitter addressing the issues raised.
In an article published on Kotaku, the major gaming news venue goes on to explain how the working environment at Riot Games is ‘hostile’ to women and certain male employees are freely engaging in behavior bordering harassment. Kotaku describes the situation at the company as a ‘bro-culture’, where sexist and aggressive behavior is not only not punished but also encouraged to a certain extent.
Former Workers Speak Out
The evidence for this is based on a number of posts from former female Riot workers, published on platforms such as Medium.com and Tumblr. One worker writes about her experience at a company party:
“This senior leader who won the award later stumbled upon me trying to hide in a dark corner because I hate nightclubs. For context; he is way older than me, and he was very drunk. He started asking me questions and coming uncomfortably close. I can’t remember what brought it on, but he started aggressively asking me “Do you know who I AM?!”
Another former employee recalls how she was contacted by other female workers after she resigned from the company. “
I was told more horror stories, discovering that some of them had been physically touched, cornered in shared vehicles, and faced professional retaliation for turning down advances.”
In response to these allegations, Riot Games posted on their Twitter:
To listen, we have to be quiet. You haven’t heard from us, because we’re focused on listening and supporting internally. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll share the immediate and long-term actions we’re taking to enact real change for women at Riot.
— Riot Games (@riotgames) August 11, 2018
The company went on further to describe how they were seeking to “help recruit women into gaming” indicated by this tweet:
To help recruit women into gaming, we held PAX workshops for women and non-binary people. We’re proud of that and stand with Rioters at PAX. Regarding conversations about this, we need to emphasize that no matter how heated a discussion, we expect Rioters to act with respect.
— Riot Games (@riotgames) September 2, 2018
All of this bears a great resemblance to the GameGate controversy that took place in 2014, where the issues of sexism and progressivism took center stage on one side, with ethics in gaming journalism also being a primary topic. While Riot Games was not the focus of the GamerGate debacle, the level of the allegations presented by these former employees is no less serious. In response, Riot looks to be doubling down on their efforts for inclusivity and to make their working environment more friendly.
Riot Taking Action
In a post, published on the main Riot game website, the company details what measures they are taking to see the situation rectified. These measures include ‘reevaluating recruiting’, ‘third-party evaluations’, ‘training’ and more. As far as the alleged offenses are concerned, Riot has begun an internal investigation process to determine what is to be done.
For the time being, the company has established a hotline, where offended individuals may submit their complaints anonymously, and also contracted a legal firm to reassess company policy regarding with respect to the current situation. In the same post, Riot states:
“No one and nothing is sacred. We are prepared to make big changes and have begun taking action against specific cases, including removal of Rioters,..”.
Riot Games is the gaming behemoth responsible for the development of the hit game League of Legends. Riot is made up of more than 2,500 workers spread out across 24 offices around the world.