Extensive Kotaku exposé uncovers a ‘culture of sexism’ at League of Legends developer Riot Games

    
164

The internet is ablaze over an in-depth report at Kotaku that uncovers a “culture of sexism” that is allegedly running rampant through Riot Games. Over two dozen women, both formerly and currently employed by the League of Legends developer, opened up to share their stories of subtle and blatant gender discrimination that weaves its way through Riot’s “bro culture.”

While Riot released a statement for the story claiming that it upholds a “zero tolerance policy on discrimination,” the tales and quotes shared by these employees indicate that at the very least Riot has an unchecked problem going on that needs investigation. The studio is heavily male dominated with 80% of its employees being men and only two of the 23-person senior leadership consisting of women.

“The ‘bro culture’ there is so real,” said one former employee. “It’s agonizingly real. It’s like working at a giant fraternity.” Several women pointed out how they were unfairly passed over for promotions, considered “too emotional” to be taken seriously, and treated as sexual objects. Another issue is that Riot places a great premium on all employees being hardcore gamers, a label that some of these women struggled with convincing the leadership that they were.

Plenty of Riot Games employees have thrown their two cents into the discussion on Twitter, with many affirming the accounts and sexist culture is real, while others claim that they have not experienced any discrimination or sexist encounters during their tenure.

Riot Games released a statement in response to the piece, saying in part, “This article shines a light on areas where we haven’t lived up to our own values, which will not stand at Riot. We’ve taken action against many of the specific instances in the article, and we’re committed to digging in, addressing every issue, and fixing the underlying causes.”

Source: Kotaku, ESPN
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
camelotcrusade

Another day, another story that makes me really, really glad I swerved and didn’t try to turn a passion (gaming) into a career (game design). I feel the same way about IT, too. It was the “it” degree and course lineup when I was in college (late 90s) and now literally all of my friends in IT are either chained to an oar with abusive hours and responsibilities or out of work due to outsourcing. Back on topic: does anybody know a happy staff and line working at a game development company? Would be nice to hear from one, even if it’s not “news.”

Reader
A Bellow From Below

The studio is heavily male dominated with 80% of its employees being men and only two of the 23-person senior leadership consisting of women.

So what? Some of the greatest game studios have had 100% of male employees during their heyday, and their games were awesome. Apparently, Riot was perfectly able to produce a successful game even under such conditions, and the 80:20 ratio obviously works for them, which means women are not strictly necessary for their creative process. If it works for them, why change it? Because it is “a good thing to do”? But does “doing a good thing” bring bacon to the table? One can’t eat the warm fuzzy feeling, you know (well, you can try, but the fuzz gets stuck in between teeth).

In the end of the day, it boils down to a simple question: Is the game good? That’s all I need to know a a customer. If it is good, then I don’t care if it was made by a herd of drunk okapi on unicycles. And if it is bad, then no percentage of female employees can change the fact it’s a bad game.

Controversies like these are really detrimental to the whole “equal participation” cause. Many people will inevitably TLDR this whole mess into a single sentence: “See, this is why you shouldn’t hire women at all.” Which in turn equals less employers willing to take the risk, less opportunities for new female professionals – in other words, it’s straight back to the 1990s sausage-fest, because a bunch of politically engaged “gaming journalist” clowns keep trying to smash the Overton window open with a brick.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

In the end of the day, it boils down to a simple question: Is the game good?

Here, let me FTFY …

In the end of the day, it boils down to a simple question: Are you treating ALL of your employees well?

Reader
Ket Viliano

No, customers must come first, they are the reason the firm exists.

Trying to pretend that virtue signaling should preempt customer satisfaction is not just wrong, it’s morally backward.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

No, customers must come first, they are the reason the firm exists.

I’m as hard working as they come, have some wealth to my name, and I’d still always treat my employees like gold, first, as they are the ones who help me make the money in the first place.

Trying to pretend that virtue signaling should preempt customer satisfaction is not just wrong, it’s morally backward.

I would say the same, for treating your employees badly (bolded part).

And what you may see as “virtue signaling” others would see as treating their fellow human beings and employees, the ones that make the money, well.

Remember, they’re also citizens of the same nation you belong to (in case you care at all about the whole country thing).

Reader
Ket Viliano

What you are doing, is virtue signaling.

You are also making wild assumptions about how I might treat people, you ought to apologize for such inappropriate behavior.

Showing off how well you treat people, rather than treating them well for its own sake, is virtue signaling. Denigrating others that you don’t even know, is rude.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

What you are doing, is virtue signaling.

So, saying you should be a decent human being is a bad thing now? Really?

No, customers must come first, they are the reason the firm exists.

You are also making wild assumptions about how I might treat people

Its true, I don’t know you personally. I’m basing it on your statements.

you ought to apologize for such inappropriate behavior.

Honestly, I do think of you as a poor human being, if you treat your customers better than your employees. I won’t apologize to someone for telling them they’re being a jerk. Just being honest. /shrug

No, customers must come first, they are the reason the firm exists.

Showing off how well you treat people, rather than treating them well for its own sake, is virtue signaling.

Wasn’t showing off (a.k.a. “virtue signaling”) (that’s in your mind). I was trying to show you that there’s another way you can treat your employees, and make money.

Denigrating others that you don’t even know, is rude.

Its denigration in your eyes, not mine. I won’t ignore my responsibility to speak out on what I think is a bad thing, just because those doing what I think is a bad thing might be offended by me doing so, citizen.

P.S. Nice attempt to kill the messenger, vs. the message.

Reader
Ket Viliano

You are making assumptions, and being rude in the process.

I responded to your initial comment, because your “FTFY” statement was rude, and inconsiderate. You have not the slightest idea who you might be talking to, yet you insist on trying to show off your supposedly superior morality.

Making rude comments, and assuming yourself to be the moral better of others, is no way to set an example.

I would think all of this to be obvious, but apparently not.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

You are making assumptions

Words matter. You said words. I read them, and replied to them. Of course they are assumptions, based on what you’ve wrote, since I don’t know you personally.

and being rude in the process.

If you find the replies rude, they were not meant as such. But maybe, just maybe, the reply is hitting a little too close to home for comfort?

If you want to re-word what you meant, to remove any ambiguity as to your intent (as per how I read your initial words), please do so, and, after reading those revised words, if I find the clarifications meant I misunderstood something, then I will gladly retract what I said. Trust me, I’m always for the win-win scenario.

Until then, I stand by what I wrote.

Finally, at this point, this subject isn’t a proper one for a MMO gaming web site, so lets just agree to disagree, and move on.

Reader
feleran

Since more than 99% of LoL players are men based on Riot’s few years old report I don’t find it strange that employees are also mostly men. Men understand best what men want after all :)

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Okay but that’s not really what the article is about. It’s not as much about the percentage of men, it’s more about what those men are doing.

Reader
Denice J. Cook

So, to all the people trying to pretend Riot isn’t really sexist, how can you ignore all the chains of inter-office emails where the authors chat about potentially having sex with certain female Riot employees?

Don’t they have anything better to do? I can’t believe they use company time for that, never mind that they blatantly get away with it.

If all that doesn’t show you what the culture is about at that place, nothing will, yeesh.

Maybe that new MMO they’ve been blabbering about potentially making should have a “Planet of the Apes” theme, so any new hires will know what they’re in for right up front.

Reader
Utakata

Yeah…but it’s all about “what about the menz’ enjoyment?”, you know. /bleh

Reader
Bruno Brito

Yeah, it’s funny that they’re all doubting the credibility of quite a lot of ex-employees and several others who WORK there.

“Revenge/sour for losing a promotion”. Oh, yeah. Since the dawn of time, minorities having their competence under severe scrutiny while the bro culture goes on. Nothing new under the sun.

Reader
A Bellow From Below

Not “since the dawn of time”, more like “since the social justice went crazy”.
Back when our fathers were of our age, people used to be hired for their merits. Today, they’re being hired for their minority status.

When I was switching jobs last year, I purposely kept quiet about the fact I’m trans. Not because I’m afraid of “discrimination”, but because I don’t want everybody to think that I’m a diversity hire. They won’t tell you that, of course, because they don’t want to lose their job. But you can see it in their eyes: “You’re just a diversity quota fodder. Now step aside, pretend to be busy and let real pros do their real work.” It took me five years to prove myself in my previous job, and I just refuse to go through it again.

Good news: minorities don’t have to prove their competence anymore. Bad news: it’s because nobody actually expects them to have any. You don’t need really any competence in order to work as a human-shaped virtue signal.

Reader
Ket Viliano

This is exactly why Affirmative Action is morally wrong, good to hear it, and you speak well about the issue.

Nothing is more bigoted than hiring someone because of their superficial characteristics, especially to serve as a living virtue signal flag.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

I remember a time when, football jocks with MBAs working at Wall Street, were at the top of the food chart and were the apex bros.

But now Wall Street bros have been supplanted by the techbros.

What kind of bizarro world do we live in where techbros rule over the Wall Street bros?

Reader
Fervor Bliss

What Frat house real or fiction would make me think, “Hey that looks like it would make a great place to work.”?

Reader
Sorenthaz

Riot Games has been largely regarded as one of the best places to work if you fit their culture.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

Wish it was from a more credible source than Kotaku but it is what it is.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

Wish it was from a more credible source than Kotaku but it is what it is.

Greaterdivinity:
This jives with a lot of what I’ve heard from folks I know who have/currently work there, and as much as Kotaku may be shit in many ways their investigative pieces like this are usually pretty spot-on (and I don’t think a single one has ever been retracted).

If what Greaterdivinity says is true, that none of their stories was ever retracted, then it should be an accurate story (though there’s always a first time).

deekay_000
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_000

i don’t think gawker has ever retracted stories even under court order so….

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

i don’t think gawker has ever retracted stories even under court order so….

The more you know …

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

A broken clock is right twice a day? :D

Reader
Michael18

Kotaku and RPS have rather low credibility when it comes to political topics, in my eyes.

Of course, not saying the article is entirely unfounded or the problem is irrelevant. Can imagine it can be an unpleasant environment at a company like Riot, not only but especially for women.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

Kotaku and RPS have rather low credibility when it comes to political topics, in my eyes.

Can imagine it can be an unpleasant environment at a company like Riot, not only but especially for women.

So, who do you believe?

Of course, not saying the article is entirely unfounded or the problem is irrelevant.

So, what are you trying to say?

Reader
Sorenthaz

Reader
Witches

The gaming industry is all like this, i can tell because i play their games.

You want to tell me GTA is not 99% dudebros? They simply managed to find the perfect outlet for their narrow mentality.

I wouldn’t even complain if any of these bozos had any talent or creativity, but they don’t, that’s why games are mostly variations on the same theme, and as soon as we get an original cool indie thing, it is bought and bastardized to death and a billion clones sprout from everywhere.

And this will not get better, this is just like comics way back when, and women only managed to get into comics because incompetence drove the industry to the ground, but i’m sure some guys will insist the problem wasn’t variant nude covers and that the role of females in the stories was either eye candy or victim.

deekay_000
Reader
Patreon Donor
deekay_000

what is narrow about gta’s mentality? teh games offer diverse casts, and the satire/humour doesn’t pick sides.

it’s a savage look at the image of america from an outside perspective.

wtf does that have to do with so called dudebros? like i think the only game i’ve met more women playing through random play is wow.

just like comics back then? back when? in the 30s-70s when comics were pushing the envelope so hard they were yoked hard by the comics control board lest they come under government scrutiny? nearly a hundred years and ongoing of acceptable mockey of the medium the creator and the reader in public forums with no risk of backlash? and any backlash apparent taken as proof of the need for not only the orignal mockery but to double down? women only managed to get into comics when? did you only read jimlee/mcfarlane comics for the 2-4 years they were at marvel or something?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_comics_creators

and there’s so much more to this, and to the nerdy entertainment media you seem to so despise and gaze at through a lens of sexism and misandry.