Another day, another round of bro culture at Riot Games. The latest episode has gone even further up the chain of command, as former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell says she was fired from Riot last summer after enduring – and reporting to human resources – sexist language and sexual advances from no less than Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent.
Vice has a rundown of the allegations; Laurent is accused of everything from telling female subordinates to deal with COVID stress by having children to “telling Plaintiff she should ‘cum’ over to his house while his wife was away thereby implying they should have sex.” The complaint also alleges that Riot violated California labor laws in regard to O’Donnell’s schedule and pay; the wrongful termination suit seeks lost wages and damages in compensation.
According to Daily Esports, Riot has formed a “special committee of [its] Board of Directors” to oversee the probe alongside an outside law firm, since it involved a top executive. However, in the same breath, it also insisted that O’Donnell was “dismissed from the company over seven months ago based on multiple well-documented complaints from a variety of people,” so it’s not immediately clear what the internal “investigation” will entail.
As readers will know, we’ve been covering the sexism and discrimination complaints against Riot Games since 2018, when Kotaku’s expose of workplace conditions triggered an employee walkout, multiple lawsuits, and a story about how a VP who repeatedly grabbed subordinates’ balls was given a slap on the wrist, which I aim to keep mentioning in every piece to note that the depravity affected people of all genders. Last year, the $10M class-action settlement proposal was withdrawn by the plaintiffs at the urging of the California DFEH and DLSE and brought back to court, but last month the judge returned everyone to arbitration – with the exception of one plaintiff who wasn’t under an arbitration clause and was given leave to fight the class-action for herself and everyone else on her own. Likewise, the DFEH and DLSE have asserted that its separate class-action is not affected by Riot’s arbitration clauses and will proceed as planned.