Alienware will reportedly terminate their global sponsorship with League of Legends, in response to the recent sexual harassment allegations that were made against Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent in a lawsuit last month, according to a report by Jacob Wolf at Dot Esports. Alienware began its partnership with League Of Legends in 2019, and the deal was originally set to expire in 2022.
In a response given to Dot Esports for the original report, Riot chose not to comment on the situation, saying, “Alienware has been a valuable partner to Riot since January 2019. We can’t comment on our agreement with them at this time due to confidentiality obligations. As we continue discussions with them, we have removed their branding from our broadcasts.”
The accusations against Laurent were made in a lawsuit that was filed in February by former Riot employee Sharon O’Donnell, who served as Laurent's secretary while she worked with the company. O’Donnell alleges that Laurent made sexist comments about women, yelled at her on multiple occasions, and repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances toward her while she worked at Riot Games. O’Donnell also claimed that Riot fired her after she reported these incidents to HR, though Riot firmly denied this claim.
The accusations against Laurent were not the first time Riot has been in hot water over their treatment of women. They were sued in 2018 by former female workers who alleged that Riot engaged in widespread gender discrimination and harassment. That lawsuit followed on the heals of Kotaku’s investigative report which revealed a “culture of sexism at Riot Games.” The plaintiffs in that suit ended up settling for $10 million USD in 2019.
We will continue to update this story as it develops.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.