League of Legends’ Riot Games is now being sued for gender discrimination as sexism scandal continues

    
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The Riot Games sexual harassment scandal has been raging for a tumultuous three months — or longer, depending on how you look at it — and now, two Riot employees have filed a class-action lawsuit against the studio, accusing it of committing gender-based discrimination and cultivating a “sexually-hostile working environment.” The lawsuit, which has been filed by “one current and one former Riot employee,” alleges that the League of Legends creator “violated California’s Equal Pay Act and law against gender-based discrimination at the workplace.”

In case you haven’t been following this whole debacle, everything began (or at least came to public light) back in August, when Kotaku published an investigative exposé that by way of testimonials from Rioters both former and current unveiled the studio’s toxic corporate culture in which employees reported being frequently harassed and discriminated against because of their gender. In response, Riot promised a “cultural revolution” that would increase the studio’s focus on diversity and inclusion, later hiring former Uber Senior Vice President of Leadership and Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei to head up its Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative. The scandal broadened even further last month, when the LA Times and ESPN both published pieces highlighting the studio’s ongoing struggles.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, according to Kotaku, “say they want to stop Riot’s alleged practice of paying men more than women who are fulfilling the same job role, promoting men into more superior roles more frequently than women, and demoting women who had similar qualifications as well-compensated men.” The plaintiffs are also seeking “compensation on unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties, with an exact amount to be determined at trial.” Riot released a statement to Kotaku, saying, “While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly.”

Source: Kotaku. Thanks, Kinya!
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Ernost
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Ernost

I’m glad to see they are finally ‘putting their money where their mouth is’ so to speak.

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Sorenthaz

And right after Worlds it’s back to this mess.

Of course all articles about it are being silenced on /r/leagueoflegends.

Vexia
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Kickstarter Donor
Vexia

As a woman looking for a games career, this means so much to me. I know that sexism and other types of discrimination are prevalent in lots of workplaces, but I would be beyond ecstatic to see initiatives to make workplaces more inclusive in the game industry flow into other sectors. Nobody should have to feel afraid to tell HR about genuine problems for fear of becoming the problem employee or the nail that sticks out. I’m not sure what I want (let alone expect) to see out of this suit outside of studios, particularly the more notorious ones, becoming more mindful and actually taking women and minorities’ workplace issues seriously.

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Leiloni

Honestly in more traditional workplaces (your standard office job at a standard company in any number of industries), women have a much better place. I think sexism is only really found in certain more niche industries like gaming, or Hollywood. The average American doesn’t see this stuff in my experience, though. I’m curious why certain industries like these are so different, though and how they’ve remained essentially on a cultural island separate from the rest of the country.

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Bruno Brito

I think sexism is only really found in certain more niche industries like gaming, or Hollywood.

I wonder what makes you think that.

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Leiloni

Like I said, personal experience of me as a working woman in America, and others I know, in various more normal industries. Also honestly, just observation…

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Bruno Brito

I won’t disregard your observations, it would be dishonest of me to do so, but i’ll be honest, everything i observed and most of my female friends experience within work was completely against everything you said. Sexism is pretty real.

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Utakata

It’s really like claiming because I haven’t got shot at in my city (that Toronto) gun violence doesn’t really exist. This is the very reason why we should never base our conclusions on the anecdotal.

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Bruno Brito

Well, i was kinda expecting this anyway.

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Leiloni

Should be interesting to hear the other side of this.

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Utakata

Sure…but it will probably go something like this…

The complainant: The parrot was dead, you’re honor.

The defense: No, it was just resting!

/bleh

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Leiloni

Well the charges will definitely be hard to prove just due to the nature of what’s being alleged, so we’ll see how it plays out.

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Utakata

…it would be nice if that where so black and white. Where the offender is questioned whether he or she touch the victim inappropriately. And whether consent was given . But that seems more often thrown to the wind, when the defense brings up the question if the victim slept with the offend after the fact for the example. Moving the case to the ad hominem to which is admissible in court. So yeah, it becomes very difficult to prove when pointless “grey area” peripherals are brought up against the accuser.

That said, this appears to be a civil case. To which there is more wiggle room for the accuser to my understanding. And where O.J. Simpson was held accountable for his actions against a victim he allegedly murdered, even though he was found innocent in a criminal court for an example. Thus, it is likely the reason why the complainants chose go this route, for what that’s worth.

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Utakata

Edit/Erratum: …victim slept with the offender*…proper.

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Bryan Correll

Doesn’t their dress code require female employees to wear yoga pants and tube tops?

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Armsbend

They hired a few consultants over the summer to address the problem – I guess we’ll see if any steps were made to address the problem.

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Bryan Correll

I asked the Magic 8-ball.

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Bruno Brito

Well, even if it did, i don’t think it should be enough to not warrant a lawsuit.

These slaps on the back don’t really change anything.

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Schmidt.Capela

If Riot can prove they are already doing enough to change their sexist culture then it could prevent them from further ongoing penalties and requirements.

It wouldn’t change what they owe for the damage already caused to their current and former female employees, though.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

As well as the damage caused to the male employees who were actioned/harassed/pushed out for speaking up in defense of their female colleagues.