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Riot Games details steps forward after workplace toxicity allegations

Three weeks after Kotaku published a story collecting allegations from past and current Riot Games employees, Riot has detailed how it plans to move forward.

Alissa McAloon, Publisher

August 29, 2018

3 Min Read

Three weeks after Kotaku published a story collecting numerous allegations of workplace harassment and sexism from past and current Riot Games employees, the company has detailed how it plans to move forward and correct the company culture that has enabled those past wrongs.

The post, shared to the Riot Games website, details seven steps the company is taking to begin to address the complaints brought up by that article and numerous individuals on social media after its publication. The post also offers a public apology to past, current, and potential employees, as well as the League of Legends community and business partners.

"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," begins the post. “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. While there is much to improve, there is a tremendous amount of good at Riot that will drive this change. This is our top priority until we get it right."

To that end, the company has broken down its initial plans into seven different focus areas, each detailed in the full post. Those things include actions like expanding Riot’s Culture and D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) Initiative by building a new team to lead Riot’s “cultural evolution”, revisiting “cultural definitions” of terms like ‘gamer’ and ‘meritocracy’ to either standardize their definitions across the company or scrap their use altogether, and work with consultants to rework and evaluate Riot’s company culture.

Riot goes on to say that it plans to retool recruiting efforts to ensure that job postings and recruitment programs are inclusive and widen the candidate pool, mandate interview and anti-harassment training programs for all employees (as opposed to previous policies that required those for only managers), introduce new anti-bias and management training programs, and recruit new D&I-focused staff like a new chief human resources officer and a chief diversity officer for the executive leadership team. 

One significant change also mentioned involves improvements and evaluations to programs through which Riot employees report transgressions and how those reports are investigated internally. To that end, Riot says it has set up a hotline for employees to submit complaints anonymously and has both expanded its internal team and brought on an external law firm to evaluate its policies and investigate any complaints that arise in the future.  

“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, though we aren’t likely to get into those details publicly on a case-by-case basis for legal and privacy reasons.”

The full post offers more details about each of these initiatives, and many seem to directly address some of the specific allegations brought up both by and in the aftermath of Kotaku’s article earlier this month. 

About the Author(s)

Alissa McAloon

Publisher, GameDeveloper.com

As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.

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