After years of controversy regarding gender discrimination, sexism, and sexual harassment, Riot Games can’t seem to adhere to their own diversity guidelines.
[Editor’s Note: This article contains racist imagery that isn’t condoned by Gamer Escape in any way, shape, or form.]
According to VICE Games, Global Head of Consumer Products Ron Johnson has been placed on leave pending an internal investigation after he made a post on Facebook that minimizes the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
The offending post is a picture of George Floyd with impact text overlaid. “The media and the left have made George Floyd into a martyr. But who was he really?” is placed at the top of the image, while the bottom lists his supposed criminal background.
Johnson also adds his two cents.
“This is no reason to condone his killing by the officer at all, which still needs to be investigated as a potential crime. It is a learning opportunity for people (and your kids) to teach that this type of criminal lifestyle never results in good things happening to you or those around you.”
In a statement to VICE Games, Riot says, “We’ve been made aware of the social media post and have launched an investigation.”
“We’ll say firmly that the sentiment in that image is abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, which we detailed in the commitments we made Friday. While we don’t discuss the details of our investigations or their outcomes, we’re following our disciplinary process closely and have placed him on leave pending its conclusion.”
Riot Games has been under scrutiny the past two years for alleged gender discrimination and adhering to a “bro culture,” a Kotaku report from August of 2018 unveiled. After allegations of promotions disproportionately given to men over women, sexual harassment, and a toxic working environment, Riot publicly apologized and pledged to incorporate new initiatives in order to foster a safer atmosphere, including expanding their Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiative with the hiring of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Angela Roseboro as well as revamping their internal reporting system.
In November of 2018, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Riot for gender discrimination. Last April, over 150 Riot employees walked out in protest over the company’s culture as well as being placed into forced arbitration, preventing current employees from taking legal action against the company.
Last June, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) launched an investigation into Riot’s alleged gender discrimination. Most recently, a $10 million settlement for the class-action lawsuit was withdrawn after the DFEH and Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) claimed that Riot “colluded” with the plaintiff’s legal counsel Rosen & Saba, saying that they could be owed $400 million instead. Women’s rights attorney Genie Harrison, who has represented plaintiffs against disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey, has taken up the case.
Images sourced from VICE Games’ article and Riot’s press site.