League of Legends dev who insulted streamer is no longer with Riot Games

Two days ago, we reported that a League of Legends developer had landed himself in hot water after he went grossly overboard in insulting a banned troll and streamer while using a Riot tag in a public Discord channel. The dev, Aaron “Sanjuro” Rutledge, publicly suggested that it’d be “gucci” if the streamer would die from “a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids,” after likening him to a “humunculus,” incidentally causing a spike in searches for the word “humunculus.”

This triggered a quick and harsh response from both the community and Riot Games. Riot and Rutledge apologized for the comment and said he was taking some time away from the community, but now it looks as if they’ve severed ties completely.

Rutledge has since posted the following comment on his Facebook page: “Heads up to friends and family. I no longer work at Riot Games. Please call or txt me for more details.” There is no confirmation as to whether he was fired or voluntarily left the studio, as neither party has yet addressed the circumstances.

Source: Rift Herald
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64 Comments on "League of Legends dev who insulted streamer is no longer with Riot Games"

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draugris

Personally i can understand the guy but on a professional level, you can´t act like that. You always represent the company you work for and i think Riot had no other coice than letting him go, but the humunculus thing was funny..

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Jack Kerras

Fun fact: being shitty to people (even jerks!) when you work at a game studio that fights tooth-and-motherfucking-nail to reduce toxicity in their game is basically 99% likely to get you fired.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Especially *especially* if you mention that you’d be happy if they died. It seems pretty obvious he was going to get more than the self time out he offered up.

Fighting toxicity with toxicity isn’t really the way to go and show everybody that it’s wrong and unwanted. That may work for other people having little chat wars and stuff on a game, but it doesn’t work for a professional company to use as a response, which he was representing at the time.

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Space Captain Zor

I really lol’d at the humunculus searching part

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Kherova

What a surprise! A toxic game has toxic devs….

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Oleg Chebeneev

Good riddance

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BalsBigBrother

The words you speak and type can have consequence for good or ill. I wish more folks would realise that in terms of their behaviour specifically in gaming or just generally in life.

The dude made a mistake and he suffered the consequences of his words but I do hope he learns his lessons and is able to get back on his feet without any problems.

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Armsbend

The lesson is that gaming is a truly one of the worst industries to choose as a talented software developer. High risk, horrible consumers, terrible hours, abuse from employers and the public.

Go into navigation apps or enterprise software where you can be appreciated and possibly rich. Not have to wake up and look at yourself knowing you are making gambling boxes for little kids.

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primal

all he had to do was keep his mouth shut or post under a name not associated with the company.

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rafael12104

The dev made a mistake. It was a slip, an aberration, in the heat of the moment. And yet, it doesn’t lessen the consequences when you are representing your employer who is trying to fight toxicity among the gaming ranks.

I feel bad for the dude, but I don’t see any other possible outcome. A reprimand would hardly be enough if RIOT is serious about dealing with toxicity.

Hopefully they guy will land on his feet. And he and Riot worked out some kind of deal on severance as opposed to just a flat out “there is the door” scenario.

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Tobasco da Gama

This would be a “with cause” firing, which normally doesn’t trigger severance packages. Usually, severance is reserved for layoffs.

Riot could still offer a severance if they felt like it, but I don’t know why they would. The ex-employee will still be able to collect unemployment while searching for a new job.

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Sally Bowls

The ex-employee will still be able to collect unemployment

IANAL, but that is not my understanding of labor law, although it does vary from state-to-state. My expectation is that employees fired for “willful misconduct” / “just cause” are not eligible for unemployment.

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agemyth 😩

I would feel better if we didn’t make IANAL a regularly used acronym.

IANAL
UANAL
WANAL (We Are Not All Lawyers, that one maybe needed to be spelt out :P)
EVERYBODYANAL

We are all internet certified lawyers, in actuality.

dixa
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dixa

Would depend if he was contracted or if his position was at-will. If contracted he may be entitled to unemployment benefits. If at-will and the company can prove this is with cause, he would be entitled to nothing

Siphaed
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Siphaed

This is true, but the problem is many companies -especially corporate ones- do not disclose employment information to outside agencies (other than the generic “yes, this person worked for us” or “no, we have no records of this person ever working for us”). Because of this, it is hard for a state run unemployment agency to confirm the reason for discharge for an individual. And due to that, the person can get away with claiming unemployment that they are undeserving of.

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Tobasco da Gama

That’s a very good point. Costly lesson to learn, but hopefully he learns it.

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A Dad Supreme

I don’t think he should be blackballed from the industry of course. I think he should be given a fair chance to represent that he’s ‘grown up’ when he applies for a new position at a new company.

That said, I don’t hope that he worked out severance or a deal with Riot. I don’t think they should be rewarding him with pay (which it would be) for such a serious infraction (given how Riot has been harping about player responsibility for months).

If he was wise enough to have invested some of his pay into Riot as a 401k, he legally can leave it there so that will be pay enough since the company is nothing but profitable.

As far as giving him money for leaving, I don’t think that’s a good idea as it sends the wrong message to customers (we’ll take your money and pay people to leave) unless it’s spelled out in his contract that he is entitled to it.

It’s like the last episode of Rick and Morty said, “Everyone wants to be knocked-out. No one wants to be dead. Being knocked-out isn’t a deterrent.”

*Apologies if anyone hasn’t seen that episode for proper reference.

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Sally Bowls

If he was wise enough to have invested some of his pay into Riot as a 401k, he legally can leave it there so that will be pay enough since the company is nothing but profitable.

I think you are confusing some investing issues. 401Ks are retirement plans, so they are not explicitly affected by the performance of your company. Your company can be losing lots of money and your 401K should be doing quite well atm due to the “huge” stock market rally since November. Taking money from a 401k (not as a rollover) is almost always a mistake as it results in both immediate taxes and penalties as opposed to letting it continue to build up tax-deferred.

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A Dad Supreme

I didn’t say he should take money out of his 401k. No one should do that unless they are in a situation where taxes allow it under certain circumstances (school, buying a house, etc).

What he does have is a starting investment for the long term future and that’s fair enough.

I don’t think paying him extra salary in this case is warranted for bad behavior against company policy so I wouldn’t give him a severance if I was in charge.

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Armsbend

loltyler seems to have scored another major troll win.

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A Dad Supreme

I think it’s fine to fire the guy or tell him to resign.

If Riot Games holds players to a certain level of decency, decorum and respect and they pay money to the company, it must demand a much higher level from it’s employees who derive those same funds they’ve accepted.

Not only to set an example to players, but to help set the tone throughout the industry that everyone should be in battling toxic attitudes from anyone exhibiting it from players to devs to directors.

Hopefully, the guy will learn at his next place of employment to be much more professional and try to be less like “one of the bros” hanging out on Reddit.

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David Harrison

Well then this developer has a future at Daybreak Games where they like their employees to be complete duchebags to their customers.

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A Dad Supreme

I think that’s a bit harsh.

Perhaps Daybreak can be guilty of not listening or being responsive enough to their customer base (as are many companies these days in gaming) but they haven’t been in the business of acting like frat boys.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Totally agree, no matter its community/development decisions, Daybreak isn’t that kind of company at all.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

are your sure about that. Try there discord channel for a while to get a good feel of how they see there customers.

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rafael12104

Lol. Must admit, this made me chuckle. Lol.

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RJB

honestly it sounds like he’s talking about Tyler1 even tho i have no sympathy for that steroied douche bag i would never wish death upon someone unless they hurt me personally. Tyler is just a huge ass tool partially what’
s wrong with online gaming but yeah. You can’t voice your opinions when you work for a big company in a public setting like that always comes back to hurt you

dixa
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dixa

Tyler is a microcosm for exactly what is wrong with our society – a total douche who makes money off being a douche. This just encourages more of the same. Until the masses actually stop giving money to these kinds of people nothing is going to change and it will continue to get worse.

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Schmidt.Capela

This is why those that can be seen as the public face of the company if they say or post things publicly should work hard at curbing this kind of behavior even in private settings.

Because if they ever lose their temper in a public setting, the filters go down and the nasty things they say in private might surface. And, as seen here, this can result in losing their job.

ceder
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ceder

So remember folks, its ok for devs to keep their thoughts in house where they are just as toxic in opinions about players as players are about them or to be careful to not get caught publically representing the company when you slag em, but get caught, as you’ll be made an example off to misdirect the pr for the company otherwise.

Yep, just another day in the gaming world.

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Utakata

I guess this is turning into his Tony Scaramucci moment. o.O

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rafael12104

LOL! This made me laugh out loud. Once again, a quite work place is disrupted by the MOP comments section.

And, quite on point as well. I think I may start using “Scaramucci moment” in my day to day lexicon. All credit to you my friend. :)

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Utakata

/pigtails bow <3

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Jacobin GW

RIOT is obsessed with banning people for toxicity and here we see how their own employees act. Remember when they banned people for elo boosting when Mark Merril was caught boosting his own account? Its a very two faced, cultish company.

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Slaasher

It doesn’t make sense what you’ve said. The man lost his job, I would say that Riot games held up their end of things.

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Bruno Brito

I would agree if he wasn’t penalized. He lost his job. That’s enough for a show of “we’re through with this.”

ceder
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ceder

No its just like any other game industry company that has a public face and a private face. The us(devs) versus them(players) is the norm in almost every game studio. But boy will they say publically all manner of syrupy sweet adorations for their player base to misdirect otherwise.

I know devs for one studio that have been caught similarly(to quickly delete tweets otherwise) or flat out ignore the players and haven’t even bothered to login to their own website/forums in months for example.

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agemyth 😩

Players tend to have much more of an axe to grind with developers than the other way around. Developers, in most cases, are players themselves and want to make and play good games. Running a business and cultivating a community around your games complicates that, but I know if I were a dev I wouldn’t want to read the trash people post on forums and social media. That is what community managers are for if you are lucky enough to have them. I would let them and fellow game industry colleagues filter and share with me what the world thinks.

Kissing ass to your customers (and bosses) is a normal business practice in all lines of work.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Someone once asked the MOP team whether we trash-talk our readers in our team chat. I love you guys but ain’t nobody got time for that. I am guessing most dev houses do exactly what we do, roll their eyes at drama kings and queens, “so and so is at it AGAIN in X thread, heads-up,” but well-adjusted people who have actual work to do don’t sit around backstabbing the people who keep them in business, and we definitely don’t have time for extended trash-talking vendettas against our trolls.

Dantos
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Dantos

I mean, thats not a game industry thing, its just a business thing. Ask what a customer service rep for any company ACTUALLY thinks about their customers and im sure you’ll get a very different version vs how they act and talk with an customer. Im not sure why people are shocked.

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Jacobin GW

This is big news because RIOT has been obsessed with controlling toxicity and ‘reforming’ people. They present at conferences and have article after article praising them about it yet their own senior employees are caught over and over again being just as toxic as their playerbase.

Dantos
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Dantos

To me, its the difference between who I interact with on a regular basis (the players) vs who I dont necessarily interact with at all (the employees). The former affects my play experience the latter doesnt.
I dont view it as hypocrisy, they want their user base to have the best play experience to stick with the game. The ‘toxicity’ of the players affects that the most. The largely internal ‘toxicity’ that may be in the minds of the employees baring some quickly punished outbursts doesnt affect me on a regular basis

In the end I just want people to treat each other online, as they would if having a face to face conversation, a pipedream I know, im not naive, ive been on the net for decards since old bnet, but its a standard ive always striven to live upto myself, and I wish it wasnt unreasonable to expect others to behave in a similar fashion.

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Jacobin GW

One of RIOTs justifications for banning accounts with x hours and x money invested is toxicity.

They take away people’s toys for behavior that their own employees engage in over and over again yet feel the need to preach to the entire industry about all the good work they are doing.

Its disgusting but at least this time there is some accountability.

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Hirku

incidentally causing a spike in searches for the word “humunculus.”

Glad to see some good come out of this…

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rafael12104

I too have been called a humunculus. Good to see others have as well. It is a source of pride.

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Darthbawl

Sorry to hear that someone lost their job over this. BUT at the same time, he had a chance to push away from the keyboard and did not. And he is now paying the Piper.

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Eliandal

What is it with people and “filters” these days? Is everyone now a Sophia Petrillo? Do parents not bother teaching “If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything”? Wishing suffering and death on anyone is just so wrong :/!

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Tobasco da Gama

The greater game culture is 100% to blame for this. You think people behave like this in a vacuum? No, they learn somewhere that dehumanising people on the other side of a screen is acceptable.

Yet you have people in this very thread saying that it’s all Riot’s fault. Yeah, the guy who probably grew up playing video games and fantasised about working for a game company and follows a bunch of streamers learned how to be a shitty dude from his coworkers, not his gaming buddies. Sure.

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Leiloni

It’s far more than just gaming. It’s a certain section of American’s in general, not just gaming, that keep promoting this idea that it’s ok to say terrible things about someone that your social group thinks is terrible themselves. I don’t know why people suddenly forget the lessons of childhood, and really common sense. Too many people get wrapped up in things and can’t think for themselves, which leads to comments like this one from the Riot employee. I wonder how often he said these things in private and if even now he think he was wrong.

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Melissa McDonald

I pray for the guy and his family, he puts bread on the table and he needs another job immediately.
And he’s learned a hard lesson.

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Sally Bowls

he’s learned a hard lesson.

That is the best case. He has received a hard rebuke. Without knowing him but extrapolating human behaviour, it would not completely surprise me if he has not learned too much and this is “unfair” and/or somebody’s fault.

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CMDR Crow

Being a dev is like being that kid on the playground who always gets beat up, but is so awkward and socially inept that they let the bullies blame the victim and then take a punishment while the aggressors laugh.

I think that the disconnect between players/streamers who are allowed and often encouraged to be vile, awful and terrible (because it rewards them with subs and views and whatever) versus the hand-tied “professionalism” of actual companies is a problem without a real solution. Obviously devs can’t stoop down to the level of people like T1, but this whole thing is just two sides of the same hobby (creators and consumers) who exist under completely opposing social bounds and rules of ethical behavior.

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Armsbend

Agreed. I had no problem with a developer putting a vile shit like tyler in his place.

I can tell most of the people here are unfamiliar with his antics. He makes a living from stooping far, far below what the developer said to him. That said, I’ve been entertained by him on occasion and dont have an issue with his thing either.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I’m not sure how apt this take is for this situation, given that the streamer is a toxic waste pile and was already perma-banned by Riot. It’s not as if he was egging on poor victim Sanjuro until Sanjuro snapped. Sanjuro, from a position of power and authority, was just shit-talking behind the guy’s back after Riot had already defeated that streamer. He thought he’d get away with it. He was wrong.

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Armsbend

Maybe. tyler was banned an age ago and yet he still persists around the game. Fake accounts, streaming tirades. etc.

Anyway, nothing Sanjuro said wasn’t true. He does look like a homanculus (sic) and about to keel over from juice. It was funny to me. But he doesn’t work for me so – whatevs.

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CMDR Crow

The point is that a streamer like Tyler1 acts like a horrific, terrible, awful human being and he sees his popularity and revenue’s increase. Devs can’t, nor should, stoop to that same level.

The “take” is that there are wildly different outcomes for the same kind of behavior on different sides of the isle. A streamer like Tyler1 has plenty of motivation to continue to be a toxic wastepile. A dev house certainly does not.

So one major aspect of “gaming culture” is completely at odds with the creators of that culture’s fixation. Players/streamers are nasty, terrifying and downright horrible to devs constantly and then when devs show they’re human beings who also get pushed to negative emotions like anger and spite like everyone else we show no mercy in calling them out.

I mean, this is more on-topic in line with the Kaplan stuff and the “devs are afraid to talk to their players.”

On one side of the isle we have a community of consumers who constantly respond with negativity and devs who must constantly attempt to be positive. It is like we’re all just fitting into our roles in some scripted play that is actually just an excuse to vent all of one’s frustrations at people who rarely deserve the ire vis-a-vis what they create.

Everyone here is a loser. But only one person has actually had a real-life negative imposed on them. Tyler1, when perma-banned, increased his viewership and revenue significantly. Another place where devs have to just take punishment over and over, unending, and also have the iron will to never snap back, ever.

Meanwhile players complain devs don’t interact enough. It is a no-win all over the place with some really disparate standards set on each side of the table.

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Tobasco da Gama

I think it’s still worthwhile to point out that people are not immune to absorbing the overall toxicity of gamer culture just because they’re getting paid to make games.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Absolutely, and in fact I’d go so far to say they’re not absorbing it from the outside in but they carry it in the door with them from the start. The fact that he thought he’d get away with what he said openly – and the fact that he spent multiple posts not walking it back but in fact defending his position before apparently realizing his job was in jeopardy over it – speaks to a bigger cultural problem inside of Riot. (Which won’t surprise anyone who’s ever read the company’s toxic job postings.)

This isn’t an example of a dev being bullied into an outburst while the trolls get off scot-free – that’s all I was saying.

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Sally Bowls

Perhaps it is a chicken-and-egg conundrum as to whether the “gaming culture” causes or is caused by these bad behaviors. IMO, there are negative feedback loops as the social interactions decline.

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CMDR Crow

Absolutely, and in fact I’d go so far to say they’re not absorbing it from the outside in but they carry it in the door with them from the start.

The big issue with this is that it is speculation and an assumption based on nothing. That, of itself, isn’t a big problem but the fact that the baseless assumption closes the door to any other possibility. I sincerely don’t know anyone decently well that I have never seen have an outburst of some kind in varying degrees. It is human, and treating humanity like some kind of inherent character flaw is damning and really crummy.

And on the other hand, you have Tyler1 who intentionally and with relish is toxic, terrible and awful all around.

Put those two hearts on Anubis’ scale with what we know and they don’t come anywhere close to the same weight.

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Tobasco da Gama

Fair enough, you’re definitely correct on that point!

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Tobasco da Gama

I hate that the comment threading makes it look like I was replying to Crow instead of Bree. :| Nothing against Crow, it’s just confusing.

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Eliandal

If there is ANY possibility, as small as it might be, that you think you could possibly regret what you’re going to say…keep it private. Tough lesson to learn, but in a game and industry struggling to deal with toxicity, it needed to be taught!

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Armsbend

So like Crow said. The devs have to learn to take it while the ones dishing it out can blossom. Profit even. Seems like a fair deal. You create so that others may enjoy; and shit on you – but only to pay for your psychiatric bills.

wpDiscuz