If League of Legends company Riot Games thought that the Rockstar crunch conversation was going to eclipse Riot’s sexism predicament, it can give up on that dream. Both the LA Times and ESPN ran articles this week covering the accusations of sexism and sexual harassment at the company, originally exposed in August by Kotaku.The LA Times says it interviewed 10 former and current Riot employees, who said “they experienced double standards, glass ceilings or sexual harassment” and “found their careers stymied and ideas dismissed.” Interviewees described the company as a “boys’ club” where those who stuck up for diversity initiatives “have found themselves targeted by online mobs and out of a job soon after.”
“All current and former employees who spoke with The Times describe a workplace where women were regularly talked over or ignored. When some women argued their points of view in meetings, they were labeled hysterical or simply excluded from future meetings and promotion opportunities, while men were promoted for the same behavior, the employees said. Two women said they experienced professional retaliation for asking pointed questions in Q&A sessions with senior managers. […] Three of the employees confirmed Kotaku’s report of sophomoric and sexualized behavior in the workplace, including a running gag that involved male co-workers smacking one another’s genitals.”
The Times also includes an interview with Dr Frances Frei, whom Riot previously brought in as a consultant to advise on solving these specific corporate culture problems. It further highlights the fact that Riot brought in law firm Seyfarth Shaw, though it does not mention the firm’s reputation for union-busting.
ESPN’s shorter piece focuses on the esports division’s acknowledgment of the sexism issues; in fact, it quotes Riot spokesperson Joe Hixson, who said there have been departures – ESPN’s word – “at all levels of the company” in the wake of the investigation but apparently declined to elaborate for the publication.
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