Following the controversy that has sprung up around Riot Games in the past week, more reports of inappropriate conduct by employees have flooded the discussion. Accusations of sexism both within the company structure and the interpersonal culture between employees continue to drive the current discussion around the company and within the League of Legends fanbase. It is the fanbase that Riot Games spokesperson, Reddit user RiotSmileyJoe, intended to address in a response to a posting of Kotaku’s original article that sparked public awareness of the controversy.
RiotSmileyJoe “wanted to make sure this community saw the full response” that Riot intended for Kotaku’s report and copy-pasted the full text into a League of Legends Reddit comment thread, which is now nearing a rating of one thousand downvotes. Many of the responses expressed discontent with what users saw as an unsatisfactory response to the seriousness of the issue. One user stated that “it reads a lot more like an assurance to investors than the player base. I’d be scared of losing investors too if I fostered this sort of work environment.”
SmileyJoe’s attempt to reach out to the community is somewhat overshadowed by last night’s release of yet another statement by an ex-employee of Riot, Meagan Marie, who according to the blogger was “contacted… as a potential source” by the author of the original article but initially feared a backlash. Encouraged by the “reticence to believe the women who came forward” that she had witnessed, Meagan took to her Tumblr blog to speak on her own experiences. Many of the circumstances discussed mirror those reported by others who have made claims against the company in recent days.
In her blog, Meghan claimed that her “biggest concern with Riot – putting my own experiences behind me – is the inappropriate and sometimes predatory behavior that some staff exhibited towards fans… Rioters are often seen as celebrities with dedicated fans, and it is easy to abuse that power.” Riot has yet to formally respond to this allegation.
Besides this, as Meagan points out, the response between members of the community towards those that have spoken on their experiences has been strongly supportive, and an incredibly shrewd collective attitude has surfaced towards the substance of company values. With instances like this controversy becoming more common, and companies being held ever more accountable for those that represent them, it is hard not to hope that this signals a change in the habits and ethics of the gaming community as a whole.