An investigation has concluded that Riot Games' CEO Nicolas Laurent is allegedly innocent of hostility at work and sexual harassment.
On January 7, a former executive assistant at Riot, Sharon O'Donnell, accused Laurent of creating a hostile work environment for her after she refused his sexual advances. Laurent immediately fired off an email to Riot's staff, stating that the allegations of "harassment" and "discrimination" was "not true," not even remotely.
In one instance, O'Donnell claimed that Laurent had asked if she could "handle him when they were alone" at his house. O'Donnell also stated that Laurent made a comment about the "tight fit" of his underwear and made demeaning comments about women. He also limited her responsibilities and opportunities at Riot, resulting in a termination. The defendant wrote that this type of language could not be found in any emails or texts between the two.
The special committee that reviewed the situation included three people from Riot's board of directors. This included Harvard Business School professor Youngme Moon, and two male C-Level executives from Tencent, which owns Riot Games. Their names were not shared. The committee concluded that there was no evidence that O'Donnel was harassed, discriminated against, or retaliated against by Laurent.
That means there will be no actions against Laurent.
This happened shortly after Alienware decided to withdraw its partnership with Riot Games. The gaming hardware company cited Riot Games' public image, including the allegations against Laurent. Of course, this isn't the first time that Riot Games has been accused of sexism in the workplace. It's just the latest of many allegations against high-level male employees, which resulted in female employees (past and present) being rewarded compensation.
Said special committee members: “This is not a recommendation we take lightly. In cases involving high-ranking executives, we recognize that power dynamics can often give rise to behaviors and biases that infect the experiences of others within the organization in toxic ways. [...] Most cases of this nature are not black and white; they fall into the gray. However, this was not one of those cases. In this case, we were simply unable to find any evidence that would justify a sanction of any kind against Laurent.”
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