Riot Games responds to sexism and harassment allegations

Avatar By Le Williams | 2 years ago

One of the largest online games and esports titles in the world, League of Legends, has recently succumbed to a number of employee allegations stemming from the in-depth report entitled “Inside the Culture of Sexism at Riot Games”.

The Kotaku piece, written by Cecilia D’Anastasio, was the result of several months worth of investigation and research. 28 current and former Riot employees spoke to Kotaku through anonymous and public dialogue.

The Kotaku report immediately gained traction in the community and became widely discussed on social media platforms like Reddit (although /r/leagueoflegends mods removed the post due to “vote manipulation” when the thread was linked to on Twitter.)

The report contained multiple serious allegations. Some sources spoke of low-level hostility and sexism from coworkers who expected their female colleagues to hit an arbitrary standard of being a “hardcore gamer”.

Other sources alleged that they were sexually harassed at Riot, highlighting the environment as a place “where male employees would sexually evaluate their female colleagues” or send unsolicited pictures of their genitalia.

The statement begins with an apology to the people who have worked at Riot, past and present, and to the game’s players.

“For the past three weeks, we’ve been focused on listening and learning. As a company, we’re used to patching problems ASAP, but this patch will not happen overnight. We will weave this change into our cultural DNA and leave no room for sexism or misogyny. Inclusivity, diversity, respect, and equality are all non-­negotiable,” a segment of the statement expresses.

“To Rioters, contractors, former Rioters, and past contractors: We’re sorry. We’re sorry that Riot hasn’t always been—or wasn’t—the place we promised you. And we’re sorry it took so long for us to hear you. In the days, weeks, months, years to come, we’re going to make Riot a place we can all be proud of.”

“To players and fans, past and present: We’re humbled by the time you’ve spent with us. We know that the studio behind a game can be an important part of how you feel about that game. We know we’ve let you down and we’re committed to fixing that.”

Riot Games has grown immensely, but the company has struggled to mature beyond the atmosphere of its earliest days. There are no quick fixes for success in a problem that runs this deep; Riot will need to dedicate itself to rebuilding its foundation.

While the initial wave of changes from Riot Games seem to be well-intentioned and promising, the road to