● 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.
● 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.
Today, Riot made the first big step in the long path of repairing its corporate image after scathing allegations involving a sexist work environment came to light.
In a blog post titled "Our first steps forward" Riot makes zero effort to defend the companies culture and immediately apologizes to the parties the company has let down. These parties include current Riot employees, prospective Riot employees, past and present fans, and prospective partners.
What follows is a 7-step action list of the steps Riot is taking to ensure the alleged (and admitted) culture of sexism is eliminated. While the post does mention that Riot still needs to "preserve the good things" they think make the company special, it also includes the surprisingly ominous language that "no one and nothing is sacred" -- foreshadowing of a later statement confirming that certain people will lose their jobs.
Key changes to Riot
One of the more noteworthy things on the list is the creation of an anonymous hotline where Riot employees can "raise issues and submit complaints." The claims made on this hotline will be investigated by an outside law firm (and talent partners) to add an "unbiased layer" to all investigations. While not specifically mentioned, it is likely this outside law firm will also be in charge of identifying false complaints and ensuring the validity of any issues raised.
In addition to this, anti-bias training, anti-harassment training, and training previously given to managers exclusively will now be mandated to all current and future Riot employees. It was also noted that Riot has begun the search for a Chief Diversity Officer to join "the CEO, President, and COO" as part of their "executive leadership team." Riot hopes the new roll will add "critical experience" to their existing Diversity and Inclusiveness team.
The blog post (which can be found here) ended on a confident note:
"We’ve always believed that Riot should be the home for the very best talent in gaming. It’s clear we’ve fallen short of that goal. But we’ve never backed down from a challenge before and we don’t plan to start now."
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