Riot Games places exec on leave while investigating awful social media post

    
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Less than punchy.

Nobody’s surprised to learn that the corporate culture at the tippy-top of Riot Games still has “bad apples,” right? After the huge sexual harassment and discrimination scandal that’s been rolling along for the last two years, now Riot has added a racism scandal on top. But it’s also working a lot harder and more immediately to contain it.

The news was first reported by Vice’s gaming division, which discovered that Riot Games Global Head of Consumer Products Ron Johnson reposted claims about George Floyd’s history in an apparent attempt to minimize police brutality and justify his murder, which has sparked more than two-weeks of anti-racism protests around the world. We won’t be repeating them here except to say that they are deliberately misleading and racist.

But don’t take our word for it on that; take Riot’s. “We’ve been made aware of the social media post and have launched an investigation,” the company said in a response to Vice. “We’ll say firmly that the sentiment in that image is abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, which we detailed in the commitments we made Friday. While we don’t discuss the details of our investigations or their outcomes, we’re following our disciplinary process closely and have placed him on leave pending its conclusion.”

We do point out here that Riot’s investigation into the VP who repeatedly grabbed subordinates’ balls led to the punishment of merely diversity training and unpaid leave over Christmas, so whether anything happens to this exec for this stunt depends on how much the bosses want to keep him around, we suppose. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Source: Vice
Update, 6/12
Turns out Riot is really on top of this one; this morning, a Riot Games spokesperson reached out to us directly with this statement.

“Ron Johnson is no longer employed at Riot Games. The sentiment expressed in the image in question is abhorrent and runs directly counter to our values and our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, something that we’re committed to working toward. As we shared last week, Riot is taking thoughtful and deliberate action to help combat racism and injustice in the communities where we work and live. To start, we’re committing $1 million to areas where we know we can make an impact, including justice reform, long-term solutions to address racial bias, and support for local Black-owned businesses. We’re also striving to change the face of our industry and create opportunities, including by investing $10 million in founders underrepresented in the games industry and helping create a future pipeline of underrepresented talent for the gaming and tech world. We know there is much work to be done, and we vow to do our part.”

An article ESPN further clarifies that CEO Nicolo Laurent told employees that Johnson resigned, having recognized that he “exercised really poor judgment” and would “be ineffective as a leader at Riot going forward.”

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Brazen Bondar

sigh….here is a list of ant-racist educational materials for anyone, including Oleg, who does not “get” why the posting was racist. The responsibility to educate or become educated is upon the person who claims “not to know.” Here are some resources, the list also includes podcasts for those who are allergic to written words. Educate yourself if you want to. For the others going back and forth, do not waste your emotional capital or intellect trying to convince someone who resists knowing. You can refer them to those who DO know.
http://bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES

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Bruno Brito

They will “investigate”.

I heard that before.

I had a chat with Bree yesterday ( i love our conversations, boss <3 ) and it was mainly about this specific subject: White supremacy and it's representation in the corporate ladder.

Now, i'm not saying that Tencent has any kind of white supremacy agenda, nor Riot's. That would be ridiculous. But, there's a ungodly ammount of complacency by Tencent. I hardly think they give a shit about what happens within Riot, as long as it gets fixed and delivers the money. Riot is way more competent at these PR shitshows than Blizzard. And that's the part that actually baffles me:

Being competent, made them capable of shoving all the sexual alegation issues below the carpet. They still are one of the most powerful gaming companies right now. This will be the same, because unlike Brack in his almighty incompetence, Riot won't fuck up PR.

So, it's a more nuanced view. I don't think there's much of a ideology in the corporate ladder. I hardly doubt the suits give a shit about who delivers results, be them trans, cis, black, white, blue or whatever. As long as the results are delivered.

But when it comes to the CEOs, the positions of power, and the board of directors, neither Riot nor Tencent will allow any kind of person that has a ideology that's "damaging to the way the company is set". And that's what i think is the problem: Companies by a whole benefit from the status quo, and the status quo is what screws with minorities.

Anyway, i'll see what happens with this with major interest.

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EmberStar

The thing is, Tencent is a Chinese company. They exist in a place where no one says anything that isn’t State Approved. The policies of the Chinese Government aren’t something I can comment on specifically, because I don’t pay attention to them. But based on how they react to things like mentioning their “protectorate” states, or posting images comparing their Grand Dictator For Life to a cartoon character, I wouldn’t say that “freedom and racial equality” are high on the list of priorities.

Does it excuse the behavior? No. But it means that even more than usual, you’re screaming at the ocean if you expect Tencent to do something. They care about making money, and not coming down with a terminal case of Vanished Without Trace because they embarrassed the State. (Probably not in that order.) Anything else is likely an afterthought.

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Bruno Brito

I’m not forgetting how Tencent operates. I’m just not sure that the Great Leader is saying on their ears “let the harassment inside Riot continue”.

Which makes me believe that this issue is not even a CCP issue, but a Tencent issue where they simply don’t give a shit about what happens with Riot as long as the money keeps being made.

And it’s not like the harassment culture is their fault either. They just oversee Riot, but i’m sure it’s Riot itself who has to solve these problems.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

NUKE IT FROM SPACE.png
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Arktouros

I absolutely love Joan Cornella’s work.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Im not defending him, just curious – you say what he posted was misleading because George Floyed never commited any of those things?

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Jeremy Barnes

The link that explains it is in the article. Color me shocked that you missed it.

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Oleg Chebeneev

After checking again, I still miss it. I see article says what Floyed did doesnt excuse police officer’s behavior. Which is true. But I cant find what this exec lied about.

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Jeremy Barnes

yea, not playing this game with you.

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Paragon Lost

Four out of five dentists would agree with you. As to the fifth dentist, well he’s a moron. :) Playing the Oleg game is seldom productive unfortunately.

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Sleepy

Agree with Jeremy – just fucking stop it. I’m done with the whole faux-reasonable rasict line of questioning rubbish.

Sow doubt, cause confusion, gaslight basically. No more.

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Bruno Brito

Sigh. C’mon Oleg. Don’t do this.

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trekfangrrrl

Good GRIEF people (responding to Oleg): there is a very SIMPLE way to answer his question without all of the hand-wringing. Here it is:

Even if certain “facts”(about Floyd’s criminal record) were true(meaning not a “lie), suggesting in any way that those “facts” excuse or lessen the officer’s guilt is morally wrong and not something any company in their right mind is going to tolerate.

See, that’s how easy it was. 1 sentence. Maybe run-on; but still :)

Celestia
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Celestia

I’d call Riot a cesspool, but that would unfairly taint actual cesspools.

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Castagere Shaikura

Not one person protesting has ever said, George was a saint. Most people knew about his past. In fact, he moved there to start a new life to be a better person. He served 5 years in prison for his crimes. As far as the fake 20 dollar bill goes, no one knows where or how he got it. Yet some want to believe he printed it up himself. He could have got that 20 anywhere. Notice how this fake bill is never brought up in the so-called investigation. It’s so easy to victim shame someone that is dead. The man still was murdered by a cop.

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Nathan Aldana

that, and anyone who claims a 20 dollar bill or a previous record of crime is justification for being killed while defenseless on the street is a monster, full stop. Just because “he was no angel” isnt justification , and anyone who would treat it as such is a vile human being

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Bryan Correll

“he was no angel”

Who is? Certainly not me. Mr. Rogers, maybe. He may have been an actual angel.

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Nathan Aldana

Oh, agreed, but thats always the justification you get from people on facebook when a person gets killed by cops. As though “he did a crime once in his lifetime” suddenly excuses excessive force.

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silverlock

Sometimes when I feel my hope for humanity draining away I watch Some Koko and Mr Rodgers vids.

Koko meets Mr. Rogers, her favorite celebrity
Koko Vocalizes a “Who” Sound

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Bruno Brito

Even Bob Ross had a dark past.

Doesn’t mean he deserved anything bad. Nor did Floyd. Anyone trying to smear his legacy and the image he became is doing it out of malice.

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Bryan Correll

Ah, but Fred Rogers makes Bob Ross look like Charles Manson.

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Bruno Brito

By dark past i mean that Bob was a military man, a sergeant. He probably abused the hell out of his soldiers, and he even said in the Joy of Painting series that he was forced to be mean, and didn’t want that anymore.

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Bryan Correll

The video actually includes a mention of Ross as one of the people besides Mr. Rogers who deserves to get into “Ultra Heaven.”

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Sleepy

Ha! Pretending to do something about it and hoping everybody goes away isn’t going to work this time. **** him out on his arse and lock the doors behind him.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Riot Games and Racism you say? Malarkey I say, malarkey.

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Utakata

This certainly has exposed the pustulant clueless asses of our society.

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Arktouros

That, btw, is why I always argue against censorship. Covering it all up with a white coat of paint so things look nice sounds good in theory but it’s far better to let people speak their minds and see them for who they truly are.

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Utakata

Sorta about censorship reply:

I really wanted to say “bigoted fuckheads”…but since this is a family channel, I stuck with the more wordy and polite “pustulant clueless asses”. But I think I need stop being polite here, as these people no longer deserve that respect.

And maybe this should be taught in kindergarten. >.<

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Sleepy

Personally, I’ve been letting loose a bit recently in this regard. I think it helps for people to be left in no doubt about your feelings :D

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Arktouros

Personally I seek understanding through discussion. I only have my own experiences as I go through life which is ultimately a very narrow view of things. By presenting my viewpoint I can illicit the viewpoints of others and thus broadening my view to those of others. Note broadening, not wholesale acceptance or total realignment. Through such broadening maybe new conclusions will be reached.

However “impoliteness” as you say, or just outright attacking people generally shuts down conversation in my experience. It feels good and all, especially when discussion has broken down, but ultimately not very useful beyond that.

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Bruno Brito

However “impoliteness” as you say, or just outright attacking people generally shuts down conversation in my experience.

I had a different experience: Heated discussion makes people prone to say their true thoughts by mistake. I find it way better when i don’t waste time with pleasantries if i know the person is a pos.

It’s pretty much what’s happening here in Brazil, politically speaking. Our president is tearing the constitution and people want to be civil about it.

You don’t fight fascism with flowers. You fight it with bayonnets, screams and fists.

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Arktouros

Why waste time on a person at all if you think the person is a piece of shit? There’s lots of people who outright avoid my posts on here. A few think I’m nothing but a big troll. I’m okay with that. However attacking people just puts them on the defensive and at that point will just look for ways to attack even if it doesn’t represent their actual thoughts or feelings.

If you really want to effect change you need to understand the situation as much as possible. It is only then that you can see how something operates and what is the most likely route at seeing it changed. Simply loudly screaming that change needs to occur without understand how to effectively see that change through accomplishes nothing.

Glorifying violence in the name of some righteous cause seems like a dangerous ideology to want to spread and likely won’t see adoption unless you push people to a breaking point. A common thing people just fail to grasp is how many people in the system, not just those at the top, have to benefit from the status quo.

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Bruno Brito

Why waste time on a person at all if you think the person is a piece of shit? There’s lots of people who outright avoid my posts on here. A few think I’m nothing but a big troll. I’m okay with that. However attacking people just puts them on the defensive and at that point will just look for ways to attack even if it doesn’t represent their actual thoughts or feelings.

Because sometimes, what you want is to show the world that the person is a dickhead who shouldn’t be in any position of power. Trump, Bolsonaro, Matteo Salvini, all of them could use some hard faceslapping.

If you really want to effect change you need to understand the situation as much as possible. It is only then that you can see how something operates and what is the most likely route at seeing it changed. Simply loudly screaming that change needs to occur without understand how to effectively see that change through accomplishes nothing.

That’s you assuming that being mad, angry and perpetuating anger is not understanding the situation. The reality, Ark, is that the people who are allowed to have their feelings in check when what happened to Floyd happens, are privileged.

Or do you think the protests are fueled by some kind of internal peaceful feeling? They’re reactive, and fueled by rage. And rightly so.

Glorifying violence in the name of some righteous cause seems like a dangerous ideology to want to spread and likely won’t see adoption unless you push people to a breaking point. A common thing people just fail to grasp is how many people in the system, not just those at the top, have to benefit from the status quo.

You’re living in a world where the president is asking for a violent resolution to peaceful protesting, which were stoked by several black citizenry dying from “bad apples”, which are clearly the entire police force. You’re living in a world where after they do all this, they still get away scot-free. You’re living in a world where a swat member gets to headshot a family man, and not even have his name on the news because of a swatting case.

The violence was already glorified. Don’t push this on the prostests. And the breaking point happened centuries ago. This is just par for the course. I don’t know about you, for me this is exactly what should happen. They should tear down every DP, they should hang every statue of confederates or murderers through the neck, they should burn everything that represents the worse in the status quo to the ground, and THEN they rebuild.

There’s no reform. You don’t reform whatever the fuck this is now.