Riot Games Brings in Former Uber Executive to Address Internal Diversity

Following a Kotaku investigation into the toxic workplace culture of League of Legends developer Riot Games, the studio is bringing in outside help. Former Uber executive Frances Frei is joining the studio as a senior advisor. Frei served as Uber’s senior vice president of leadership before coming to Riot, and is a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Riot Games announced Frei’s involvement at the studio today, in a statement that reemphasized their commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Frei has been working with the management team at Riot for a few weeks now, and has been working specifically with the Diversity & Inclusion and Culture Strike Team. She discussed her plans to help out the team.

“Riot isn’t interested simply in fixing problems on the surface, they have an ambition to be an industry leader and to provide a roadmap for others to follow,” she said. “I share that ambition and am eager to help them navigate this process.”

A few weeks ago Riot published “Our First Steps Forward” that began to draw plans for their future. First, they plan to expand their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Second, with a reconsideration of their “cultural definitions” that include the language the developer uses to describe itself and its staff, along with their company manifesto. Riot Games is also bringing in consultants to provide expertise and help them build a better environment for their staff and community. The developer also outlined new processes for internal investigations, recruitment, and training.

Kotaku’s investigation into Riot Games unearthed a toxic, misogynistic culture that has existed at the developer since it’s inception in 2006. The studios “bro culture” didn’t accept women as part of the conversation or give them the ability to be leaders. One source described asking a male coworker to pitch an idea of hers, when he did his coworkers loved the idea. She had pitched the same idea a few days earlier, and it fell flat to the same group of people. The gender double-standard at Riot Games is seemingly pervasive at every level of the studio.