Riot employee fired over toxic chat comments says he deserved it
Last week, news that Riot Games Lead Experience Designer Aaron “RiotSanjuro” Rutledge had insulted a banned League of Legends streamer in a public chat under the Riot tag, calling him a “humunculus” and remarking, “[H]e’ll die from a coke overdose or testicular cancer from all the steroids.. then we’ll be gucci.” Following the circulation of the comments on Reddit, Rutledge initially appeared to deflect criticism and defend his comments before being digitally strung up by the community and dressed-down by Riot. And while the target of the slurs, so-toxic-he-was-already-banned Tyler1, dismissed the insult, saying he had no hard feelings, within a few days Rutledge announced he was no longer with the company.
That’s apparently because Riot, a massive online gaming studio ostensibly at the forefront of the push to reduce toxicity in gaming, fired him. In fact, in an interview with Rolling Stone’s Glixel blog, Rutledge says he respects Riot’s decision to boot him, saying he’d have done the same in the studio’s position and noting he’s since checked himself into rehab, as “too many whiskeys” contributed to his lapse in judgment (and to what he now refers to as his “spectacularly stupid” defense).
By the next day, he says, he was suffering a wave of harassment himself. “The doxxing and threats and insults kept coming for several days,” he says. “Pretty scary stuff – but nothing I didn’t deserve.” He says he’ll try to get back into games once he’s finished solving his drinking problem, though he flat out says “drinking was no excuse for [his] actions.”
“I violated the trust of Riot, the best employer I’ve ever had, out of sheer stupidity. There’s no excuse for that kind of toxicity from players or devs. I let you all down, and as a huge fan of the game, I hope I can make amends one day.”