League of Legends studio Riot Games is in the news again, this time in relation to the ongoing sexism scandal going on within the company as exposed by a Kotaku reporter’s extensive research earlier in August. As Riot kept relatively quiet over the last few weeks, telling the community it was reflecting on and processing the allegations, more appalling accusations from current and former employees have surfaced, including one earlier this week from a former male engineer who quit over what he described as overt rape jokes seeping into company culture from the top down.
Riot has broken its silence as of today, addressing both game developers and players in an unsigned official letter called Our First Steps Forward. The letter apologizes to all current and former employees, as well as to its players, future employees, and potential 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. 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.”
The “first steps” mentioned include a new team to lead the company’s “cultural evolution,” a complete re-evaluation of the company’s core culture and manifesto, a revised complaint investigation and recruiting system, new anti-bias training and fresh diversity management, and third-party consultants and attorneys to advise on these sweeping changes.
“Our goal isn’t just to be good; it’s to become a leader on diversity, inclusion, and culture,” Riot says. “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.”