League of Legends

Riot breaks silence over "culture of sexism" accusations



● On Tuesday, August 7th, Senior Reporter at Kotaku Cecilia D'Anastasio published a critical article that dove into Riot's supposed sexist work environment, detailing at length a "culture of sexism" that routinely denied female Riot employees respect and equal treatment when compared to their male colleagues. 

● Kotaku spoke to 28 "current and former" Riot employees over "the course of several months" when researching the issue. The article, in no uncertain terms, depicts the work environment at Riot to be one that favors men over women.

● Kotaku included the fact that some current Riot employees, including "some top female employees" have disputed these claims and reported that they had not personally experienced gender discrimination.

● The same day of the article's publication, Riot Games Corporate Communications Lead Joe Hixson addressed the article in a comment to ESPN. Part of that comment included a message that Riot has a "zero tolerance policy on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, bullying, and general toxicity"

● Three days after the article was published, Riot publically commented on the Kotaku article's claims through Twitter. Their response promises "real change for women at Riot" and seems to accept that there is currently gender discrimination within the company.

This Friday, Riot's Twitter account posted this not-so-cryptic message regarding the most recent accusations of a "culture of sexism" denying women who work at Riot professional respect and career advancement opportunities:

This Tweet, while not specified, is almost certainly a response to Cecilia D'Anastasio's recent article on Kotaku outlining a culture of sexism at Riot headquarters. In the article, it was said that Riot had already responded directly to Kotaku regarding the stories and claims of gender discrimination as “explicitly opposite” of the companies culture. 

This recent Tweet, however, isn't so evasive of the charge of sexism. In fact, it seems to accept responsibility and concede that the problem is real and actions must be taken to fix it. Action has yet to happen, however, as the Tweet emphasizes more than once the importance of "listening" first.

This listening, Riot explains, is why they have been quiet about the issue on social media for three days.

A softer tone

The mention of listening and being quiet seems to be a direct response to some of the Kotaku articles culture of sexism claims. In the article, it is explained that women employees are frequently talked over by much louder male employees. The article also claims that introverted employees, especially if they are women, are told that their personality is a problem and is routinely the reason for being denied career advancement.

Regardless of what happens "in the weeks and months ahead", Riot is (at least on Twitter and publically) demonstrating that they heard the message loud and clear and change needs to happen. 

You can read Kotaku's original article on the culture of sexism at Riot here.


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