Riot Games

Riot Games is a Los Angeles-based developer founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill and owned since 2011 by Tencent. It employs 2,500 employees in 24 studios worldwide and is known for the extremely popular League of Legends franchise and associated eSports championship events.

In early August, 2018 Kotaku published a scathing exposé of a sexist culture at Riot. This was the work of an 8 month investigation into the culture at Riot and relied on the testimony of over two dozen sources.

Following this initial report, other former employees of Riot Games took to their blogs to share similar experiences.

Riot Games responded on August 29 2018 with a public statement on their website - Our First Steps Forward. The statement begins as follows and proceeds to apologize to current and future employees and contractors, fans, prospective Riot employees and current and prospective Riot partners

For the past three weeks, we’ve been focused on listening and learning. As a company, we’re used to patching problems ASAP, but this patch will not happen overnight. We will weave this change into our cultural DNA and leave no room for sexism or misogyny. Inclusivity, diversity, respect, and equality are all non-negotiable. While there is much to improve, there is a tremendous amount of good at Riot that will drive this change. This is our top priority until we get it right.

The statement then outlines seven steps that Riot will take to improve and fix its culture. These include expanding what Riot calls the “Culture, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Initiative”, hiring “culture change” consultants and re-evaluating their investigation, recruitment and training processes.

In a later statement (Sept 12) Riot announced one culture change consultant as Harvard Business Professor Frances Frei who had previously worked with Uber to address problems with their management including sexual harassment.

Cecilia D’Anastasio, the journalist who broke the original story for Kotaku followed-up with doubt that Riot will change if the main players responsible for the toxic work culture are still at the studio.