Last year, Kotaku published a brutal exposé of Riot Games’ culture, replete with sexual harassment and sexual discrimination problems. In response, Riot promised a “cultural revolution” but followed up with weak action and poor redress for those affected, which resulted in an employee protest and walkout and the filing of an enforcement suit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which accused Riot of not fully cooperating with its investigation. This summer, Riot execs emerged to praise their own achievements, even if we’re all still a bit skeptical since this a company that also thought the appropriate punishment for a VP who repeatedly grabbed staff members’ balls was unpaid leave over Christmas.
Anyhow, there’s been movement on the law side of this absolute shitshow, as Riot Games has reportedly settled the class-action discrimination lawsuit that was lodged against it. According to the LA Times, the judge has yet to approve the settlement, and neither side has revealed the terms. The suit had alleged that Riot’s “bro culture” encouraged harassment in the form of “crotch-grabbing, phantom humping, and sending unsolicited and unwelcome pictures of male genitalia” and bosses running “hot girl” lists. Complaints by female employees were allegedly met with “denied promotions, refusals to provide increased compensation or equal pay, demotions, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, losses of benefits, suspensions, terminations, and other adverse employment actions.”
Organizers for labor rights at Riot Games have declared the settlement a “victory for women in games,” but do note that some of the workers whose rights were violated were forced into corporate arbitration instead of getting their day in court, and that’s not over yet. Neither is the CDFEH’s suit.
TL;DR: Class action lawsuit against Riot has been settled (other suits that went to arbitration are still pending). We believe this is a huge victory for women in games. Full text of statement from the walkout organizers here: pic.twitter.com/H9qhse35V8
— Rioters For Change (@Rioters4Change) August 23, 2019
Comedian and editorialist Hasan Minhaj (you probably remember him from the Daily Show) just did a Netflix segment mentioning Riot Games’ discrimination suit amidst multiple other industry crises, including crunch.