Riot Games suspends COO Scott Gelb for workplace misconduct

Various Riot employees claim Gelb repeatedly touched and interacted with them in a number of inappropriate ways as part of a "comedy bit."

Riot Games COO Scot Gelb has been suspended without pay for two months after multiple employees reported him for workplace misconduct. 

As detailed by Kotaku, various Riot employees claim Gelb repeatedly touched and interacted with them in a number of inappropriate ways as part of a "comedy bit."

Company CEO Nicolo Laurent detailed Gelb's punishment in an email sent to employees, although several feel that two months unpaid leave is an underwhelming response at best, with some suggesting he should have been demoted or fired. 

"There were claims made about Scott engaging in inappropriate and unprofessional behavior, particularly during the early days of Riot. And some of these claims were, in fact, substantiated. The conduct alleged in these claims is not acceptable," reads the email. 

“In light of these substantiated claims, the Special Committee wanted to take firm disciplinary action that would be visible to the company. As such, Scott will be going on an unpaid leave of absence for two months, starting at the end of this week."

The note added that Gelb would be attending training to address his workplace behavior.

Kotaku also cited multiple Riot employees who believed Gelb got off too easy, with one saying the company's response was "a tiny slap on the wrist."

Although Riot has substantiated some of the allegations against Gelb, the studio also found others to be false. With that in mind, and because Gelb "believes in leadership accountability," Riot has allowed him to stay on at the company. 

The allegations against Gelb were initially brought to light as part of Kotaku's extensive investigation into Riot's toxic workplace culture, which saw the COO's name mentioned repeatedly.

Shortly after the Kotaku article was published, Riot conceded it hasn't "lived up to its own values," and published a seven-point plan explaining how it would begin to address its rotten company culture. 

The studio then brought in Uber's former SVP for leadership and strategy, Frances Frei, to advise its 'culture strike team' and foster inclusivity and teamwork within the firm.

For some though, it was too little too late, and back in November a group of current and former Riot employees filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for the alleged role it played in facilitating gender-based discrimination.

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