Riot Games, the game studio behind the wildly popular MOBA League of Legends, has been under a microscope ever since a report detailed a workspace ripe with sexism and misogyny. Current and former employees filed lawsuits based on gender discrimination, and the company started an initiative aimed at changing the work culture. However, a recent report from Kotaku said that Riot Games made a move to force two of the women that filed lawsuits into private arbitration, essentially preventing them from taking legal action.
On Monday, April 29, unrest within the company resulted in current Riot Games employees organizing a walkout in protest of the move. Waypoint reported that according to two anonymous employees and an internal Slack message from Riot’s chief diversity officer, the aggressive motion by Riot spurred on conversations about a walkout that had already started.
“Talk of a walkout has been brewing among a number of folks with varying levels of investment since Kotaku’s first article hit,” one source told Waypoint, “and leadership consistently promised transparency/actions to be taken and then did not deliver on that promise.”
A statement from Angela Roseboro, Riot’s chief diversity officer, revealed that the company was aware of a potential walkout. “We want to open up a dialogue on Monday and invite Rioters to join us for small group sessions where we can talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we’ve landed and why,” she said to the staff.
The company can’t speak on ongoing litigation, but a Riot Games representative wanted to clarify that the statement about the two women who were reportedly prevented from taking legal action is inaccurate. “The legal action will continue regardless of the venue; it’s just a question of whether it’s a private arbitration,” the representative said.
We also received an additional statement from Riot Games regarding the walkout, and it seems like the company is moving forward by sitting down with the staff so they can speak to their concerns. Here’s the full statement:
“We’re proud of our colleagues for standing up for what they believe in We always want Rioters to have the opportunity to be heard, so we’re sitting down today to listen to their opinions and learn more about their perspectives on arbitration. We will also be discussing this topic during our biweekly all-company town hall on Thursday. Both are important forums for us to discuss our current policy and listen to feedback, which are important parts of evaluating all of our procedures and policies, including those related to arbitration.”
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