Riot’s COO Scott Gelb has been suspended without pay. The action from Riot management comes after several complaints focused on Gelb’s alleged misconduct in the workplace. Though, some Riot employees have suggested the action taken isn’t severe enough.
Gelb, who has been with the comapny since 2008, has been given a two-month suspension without pay. Though he cut a central figure in a Kotaku expose into the culture of Riot Games earlier this year, where the COO was alleged to have participated in ball-tapping employees and even farting in people’s faces, the exact nature of the offense that’s led to this suspension isn’t yet known.
Riot’s CEO, Nicolo Laurent, also weighed in on the situation via an email to Riot eomployees. Laurent explained that given Gelb’s position in the company, Riot’s board “specifically requested that one of Scott’s consequences be highly visible,” an action that goes against the usual practice of these punishments, but Laurent went on to explain that Gelb, “holds one of the most senior roles at Riot and is held to a higher level of accountability and visibility, therefore certain consequences are going to be very visible to Rioters. It’s for these reasons I feel it’s necessary to make an exception.”
Of course, once the suspension is over, Gelb will be free to return to his lofty position at the company, and Laurent believes that Gelb owning up to some of the allegations about his workplace behavior “will leverage him as a great leader.” Though, current Riot employees feel the punishment is far from fitting. Speaking with Kotaku, one employee – who has remained anonymous for the sake of their job – said that it showed how the priority for Riot leadership seemed to be, “protecting their awful friends… more than protecting their vulnerable employees.”
No public comment has been given about Gelb’s suspension from Riot Games, though it’s another misstep in what’s been a damning year for Riot, with reports of a toxic and sexist workplace culture being a frequent association with the company this year.