Inside the culture of sexism at Riot Games

Riot Games, founded in 2006, has become one of the biggest companies in gaming on the back of its sole release, League of Legends, which had 100 million monthly players in 2016. With 2,500 employees across 20 offices, Riot is a powerhouse. In 2013, Riot was named one of Business Insider’s 25 best tech companies to work for. Two years later, it made $1.6 billion in revenue. Its Los Angeles campus is cushy in the way you’d expect a money-bloated tech company’s offices to be. It’s got a gym, a coffee shop, a cafeteria with free food, a LAN cafe. Employees often stay late to grind out competitive skill points in League of Legends with their Riot family and are communicating on Slack well into the night. Women who don’t fit in with Riot’s “bro culture”- a term I heard from over a half dozen sources while reporting this story – say these amenities help make the job bearable for only so long.

Over the course of several months, Kotaku has spoken to 28 current and former Riot employees, many of whom came forward with stories that echo Lacy’s. Some of those employees spoke on the record; most spoke anonymously because they feared for their future careers in the games industry or they were concerned that League of Legends’ passionate fanbase would retaliate against them for speaking out. Many of those sources painted a picture of Riot as a place where women are treated unfairly, where the company’s culture puts female employees at a disadvantage. Other current employees, speaking on the record, disputed that account, with some top female employees telling Kotaku they had not personally experienced gender discrimination at Riot.

A very detailed and well-researched article, with ample room for both sides of the story. It covers the experiences of both women and men with regards to harrassing behaviour, but also relays the experiences of people who never felt any sense of harrasment, while also allowing senior leadership and the company itself to properly respond to the claims made.

To go along with this story, there’s the experiences written down by former Riot employee Meagen Marie, which are quite chilling. This retelling is obviously of a lot more personal nature, but it does seem to align with Riot having a deeply sexist culture.


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