Riot Games hit with gender discrimination suit by current and former employees

Joanna Estrada
November 8, 2018

Roughly three months after an exhaustive Kotaku report turned a light on the pervasive "bro culture" at League of Legends developer Riot Games, the studio has been sued by one current and one former employee over the "men first" environment they say it enabled and encouraged.

Riot Games, known most for having developed League of Legends, has faced allegations of sexism in the workplace in the past few months, with reports of at least 28 employees describing Riot's workplace as "toxic".

In the complaint filed with the California Superior Court in Los Angeles, the plaintiffs claim that Riot denied them equal pay and blocked their career advancements on the basis of gender. McCracken, the current employee within Riot Games and second plaintiff in the lawsuit, said she believes she was denied promotions and was both punished and denied adequate compensation by male leadership as a result of the company's alleged gender discrimination practices.

In particular, despite Riot apologising at the end of August for this and promising to make changes, Kotaku note that while the company has reportedly fired numerous people accused of harbouring a toxic culture, several of the most highly positioned ones are still in place.

Melanie McCracken, one of the plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit and is still at Riot Games, revealed that she spoke about her experiences with the sexist culture, but said 'HR failed to keep the meeting confidential and leaked the information to her supervisor'. Jessica Negron, a former employee who is also one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, was also a source for the story.

Mashable reached out to Riot for comment on the lawsuit, and a representative stated that, "While we do not discuss the details of ongoing litigation, we can say that we take every allegation of this nature seriously and investigate them thoroughly".

The plaintiffs are seeking unpaid wages, damages, and other penalties - with amounts to be determined at trial.

Co-founder Brandon Beck was once again highlighted for using "no doesn't necessarily mean no" as a company slogan, and Negron's former supervisor, Geoff Chandler supposedly stated that "diversity should not be a focal point of the design of Riot Games' products because gaming culture is the last remaining safe-haven for white teen boys". When she tried to ask for the promotion to the job, she instead was given the workload of the role, but without the title or pay that it came with.

She took a new position in 2015 and her former supervisor was then promoted to a senior position in 2016. One year later, McCracken says she received a video of two of her colleagues, including Gelb, "at a dance club with scantily-clad women in Shanghai".

Riot Games headquarters in Los Angeles.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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