Riot Games Walk Out

On May 6th, 2019, roughly 150 employees at Riot’s Los Angeles headquarters staged a walkout against Riot’s recent lawsuits of sexism and harassment, as well as Riot’s policy of forced arbitration. Riot has a policy of forced arbitration, where employees and the employer (i.e., Riot) require disputes be resolved internally rather than taking outside legal action. Employees protested in Riot’s parking lots with picket signs, banners that read ‘Riot Unplugged’, and organizers taking to megaphones to reach all 150 walkout employees. Many employees took to twitter in support of the walkout initiative. While unionization in the video game industry has been a growing topic in recent years, Jocelyn Monahan, one of the leaders of the Riot walkout, told The Verge that the movement at Riot was not yet equipped to discuss unionization, but did want immediate fixes to the work environment.

There are current employees here who have to come to work and look in the face the person that they have accused publicly of misconduct
— Jocelyn Monahan, Riot Walk Out Organizer - Original Source: The Verge

In response to the walk out, Riot released an official statement on May 3rd, 2019, outlining their viewpoint on the arbitration process. In the statement, Riot promises to give all new ‘Rioters’ (a colloquial name for employees) the opportunity to opt out of forced arbitration for issues of sexual harassment and assault after current litigation has been resolved. While not official stated, it seems that this offer would not be extended to current employees. Furthermore, Riot also outlined their plan of action for the 30, 60, and 90 days following the walk out. This included promises to ensure fairness in the recruitment process, training new employees on anti-harassment, and holding value workshops for executive leaders.

As soon as current litigation is resolved, we will give all new Rioters the choice to opt-out of mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. At that time, we will also commit to have a firm answer around expanding the scope and extending this opt-out to all Rioters. We know that this resolution will not satisfy all Rioters. We understand and respect Rioters who choose to protest this decision on Monday, and admire their conviction and willingness to stand up for their beliefs.
— Riot Games Official Statement

Directly related to the walkout is the Kotaku article, which exposed a culture of sexism at Riot and potentially snowballed recent actions against.

The #Riotwalkout was trending on Twitter, with a variety of industry figures tweeting their opinions.

Media or Social Media Coverage: