Riot Games Culture Policy Changes Released to Address Toxic Behavior
Riot Games has posted a new set of company values on its website after allegations of a toxic ‘bro culture’ arose.
Gaming site Kotaku did an undercover expose on Riot Games culture in August 2018, bringing attention to the issue. Many employees spoke under anonymity, sharing their stories of brushes with sexism and casual racism. In November, the developer was hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging gender discrimination.
Riot Hit With Class-Action Lawsuit
Some employees described how Riot’s leadership would purposefully remove female candidates from the potential leadership hire pool. Many female job candidates were labeled as ‘not gamer enough’ or ‘too much ego.’
In November, Melanie McCracken and Jessica Negron sued Riot Games, alleging denial of equal pay. The duo also claims their careers were stifled on purpose. At the time of the lawsuit, Riot employed around 2,500 people. About 80% of them were male.
One new allegation that surfaced in the lawsuit is Riot CEO and co-founder Brandon Beck saying “no doesn’t necessarily mean no” at a company event. Beck still leads the team at Riot, which is launching this new company-wide focus on new values. Kotaku also confirmed that plaintiff Negron participated in their original expose.
Riot’s New Company Values
After the original Kotaku story ran, Riot publicly apologized to current and former employees. The developer promised to make sweeping changes to its values statement and address complaints raised in the original story. The launch of its new company values policy is one facet of addressing that.
Riot Games says the new companies values better reflect where the company is now than its 2012 founding. The company says it spoke with more than 1,700 employees about what they want the company to be in the long-term.
The team at Riot shared the now-posted Riot Games culture values internally for about a month. Many employees were given a chance to reflect on these new values.
The first big section on the new values page focuses on Diversity, Inclusion, and Riot Culture. Riot says they’re focused on setting a high bar for diversity in their new culture. One significant addition under that header is that Riot games must not tolerate sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and bigotry of all kinds.
The company even makes mention of the explosive allegations that surfaced in Kotaku’s original article. “Sometimes we’ve fallen short of making these beliefs a reality,” the page cites. Riot’s new Diversity & Inclusion team will focus on building a more inclusive climate and fairer systems at the developer.
To help make the developer more transparent, Riot is sharing behind the scenes profiles of employees. Unsurprisingly, the mix of profiles highlighted showcase just how diverse Riot has become.
In addition to the new profiles, Riot says to expect a new transformation page. The page serves as a central headquarters for what Riot is doing to address the toxic culture. The May 6, 2019 walkout of Riot Games employees brought the company’s policy on forced arbitration to light.