After a major expose on League of Legends developer Riot Games came out about a culture of sexism in its workplace, Riot has made an official response to allegations included in the piece.
The in-depth article, written by Cecilia D’Anastasio, comes from Kotaku. The article details various alleged instances of sexist incidents in Riot’s workplace after interviewing 28 current and former employees.
These incidents include female employees regularly being passed up for leadership roles, potentially sexist hiring practices, ideas from female employees being ignored in favor of identical ideas from male employees, being shown unsolicited pictures of male genitalia by bosses and colleagues, and much, much more.
Riot has responded to these allegations, both directly to Kotaku and elsewhere. A full version of its statement was posted by a Riot communications employee in a Reddit thread pertaining to the article. In this statement, Riot generally addresses the studio’s workplace culture, hiring practices and its diversity and inclusion program.
“We strive to cultivate a unique culture that positions us to best deliver amazing player experiences: one where we obsessively focus on players; one where every Rioter has equal opportunity to be heard, grow their role, advance in the organization, and fulfill their potential; and one where open feedback helps us all get better,” the statement says.
“Talking over women in meetings, promoting/hiring anyone less deserving than anyone else, and crossing the line from assertive to aggressive are three examples of actions that are explicitly opposite to our culture. To say that these actions are emblematic of our culture and not an affront to it would be wrong. We have a zero tolerance policy on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying, and general toxicity.”
Riot also highlighted its desire to hire gamers to work at the company over non-gamers. “We’ve found that the best way to hire Rioters is to hire gamers. While not every Rioter is a gamer, most are… a Rioter speaks the language of players and can relate to them in ways that could never be learned on the job. We pride ourselves on player empathy, whether that’s relating to the fun players are having with a new game mode or understanding the pain they’re feeling with a nerf gone too far.”
Lastly, the company’s diversity and inclusion program is highlighted in its statement, though according to Kotaku’s article, Riot didn’t add the diversity and inclusion page to its website until after finding out about Kotaku’s reporting for the article.
“Diverse teams and an inclusive environment are the only way we can deliver meaningful and resonant experiences to players around the world, so we need to make sure all potential Rioters have an equal shot at joining our team,” said Riot. “As we’ve grown, we’ve continued putting more resources behind these efforts, and in the last few years we’ve accelerated and formalized our D&I program.”
Riot’s official statement has been widely criticized by Reddit users for not addressing many of the issues raised in Kotaku’s story. Issues not addressed include, but are not limited to, a male senior leader allegedly grabbing another male employee’s genitals as well as various aspects of its pervasive “bro” culture.
Colin Stevens is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.