Damn: "Inside the Culture of Sexism at Riot Games"

Glu Mobile uSdrt8
Aug 8 151 Comments

https://kotaku.com/inside-the-culture-of-sexism-at-riot-games-1828165483

The story about the male employee presenting the same idea to a group of people that she had presented is actually terrible and really really concerning.

I had a friend working at a different gaming company and another friend at Twitch who told me similar stories....

"Both male and female sources have described seeing unsolicited and unwelcome pictures of male genitalia from bosses or colleagues. One woman saw an e-mail thread about what it would be like to “penetrate her,” in which a colleague added that she’d be a good target to sleep with and not call again. Another said a colleague once informed her, apparently as a compliment, that she was on a list getting passed around by senior leaders detailing who they’d sleep with. Two former employees said they felt pressure to leave after making their concerns about gender discrimination known. One former male employee said that Riot’s “bro culture” is more pronounced behind closed doors, and hurts men too: One of Riot’s male senior leaders regularly grabbed his genitals, the source said, adding, “If he walked into a meeting with no women he’d just fart on someone’s face.”


Riot Employees what do you think?

What do you think can be done to improve Riot and other gaming company culture of sexism?

comments

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TOP 151 Comments
  • Microsoft techlead*
    Someone tldr for me pls thanks!
    Aug 8 20
    • Amazon аlv
      Humans can improve but you personally can’t make them improve. If you think otherwise, be my guest and go for it. You should have plenty of free time at SAP to cure humanity of sexism.
      Aug 10
    • Salesforce potterh
      Atleast he’s not peeing in a bottle like you sorry lot.
      Aug 10
    • Uber Toboggan
      “Fighting biases is a sucker’s battle because you can’t change human nature”

      Wooosh... alv you’re an idiot 😇 good luck
      Aug 10
    • Robinhood / Product xQwR50
      I mean we got over the "women can't work" thing really fast during the industrial revolution and war times. That points to an ability to change, but maybe an unwillingness to unless it benefits you somehow. And in this day and age, selfish, uncollaborative people don't thrive in the workplace.
      Aug 10
    • Amazon аlv
      @Tobogann Good luck to you with your next SJW battle. In the meantime I’ll focus on building things and making money. When the next recession hits, it’s the unproductive SJW types that’ll get purged first.
      Aug 10
  • Riot Games G8ADN86R
    This article was from a full year ago. The article has sparked a lot of really great change at Riot. Check out this: https://www.riotgames.com/en/news/riot-one-year-later-my-reflections
    Aug 8 25
    • New / Eng h7j8
      Am I missing something, or did you just cite some vague "commentary" without actually linking to it..
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games schmekels
      Fair point. I don't know if there's a way to link you to a blind comment in this discussion, but it was posted by gowkzuzhsh. That's what I was referring to.
      Aug 9
    • Indeed RUMB06
      I worked at Riot for 3 years and unfortunately observed several of the behaviors mentioned in the article. When I surfaced these behaviors to Riots talent (HR) team the perception was that it was a sensitivity issue on my behalf. I have no doubt that the folks called out were/are well meaning and hope Riot is able to move forward with the self awareness and accountability that I understood was part of their shared values.
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      The COO has never been accused of sending dick picks. When folks make up claims it just shows that this is just about 🍿 and schadenfreude.
      Aug 9
    • Robinhood / Product xQwR50
      I recruited with Riot a few years ago. The recruiter told me that I was very well prepped and had great, well thought out answers, but didn't sound "confident enough" when speaking, so they wouldn't proceed. The job I was applying for didn't require much leadership/public speaking. Since women tend to be less outwardly confident, I feel like that hiring bar could've contributed to the male-dominant culture.
      Aug 10
  • Amazon QUfT36
    representing somebody elses work happens irrespective of gender and is not sexism but assholism
    Aug 8 20
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      To be super clear: everything people have said here about people talking over women and taking credit for their ideas is absolutely terrible.

      The articles here though make the case that this is 2/3 women. And the other article talks about how the phenomenon of men interrupting women is common and I doubt the author had even heard of Riot Games.

      This stuff is widespread and rife in all companies. Riot just happened to have a massive article written about it. And you know what? It's made us better so I'm actually happy about it.

      However, it is pretty telling about the fact that pretty much none of the good stuff we've done had been reflected by that press. It's not exactly the New York Times and it's not exactly gonna move eyeballs and clicks to talk about good news.
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      Apple/Facebook/Amazon/Microsoft: are you honestly telling me that you don't think that in the history of your massive companies that a journalist couldn't pick out a couple of examples of this?

      Friends: we gotta own this together. I just did a Google search for each of your company names and sexual harassment and I found many stories too... Let's not kid ourselves: we all have to get better.
      Aug 9
    • Facebook FSYS26
      BDXF48 in here with the scientific obscurantism. You’re the problem
      Aug 9
    • Microsoft znJf21
      @G8DN86R Definitely, I wasn't implying that it only happens at Riot, I was replying to the comment about these things being anecdotal. They're not, and unfortunately as you say it happens everywhere. We've also had our share of stories like that at MS. And I've seen things like that in other companies I've worked at. I was just saying that being a woman in the workplace still sucks, objectively. If we lie to ourselves saying that these stories are "anecdotes" we'll never improve it.
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      Agreed znJf21!
      Aug 9
  • Expedia Group SFOSEA
    This is f*ing disgusting. When you step back and look at the bigger picture.....no wonder other countries are out innovating us. We have serious issues.
    Aug 8 15
    • Lyft PcKT80
      Japan is the complete opposite of innovation. The country is so anti change it’s baffling. Source - I’m Japanese.
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      Sexism is a massive problem. But innovation is currently led by US. Not related.
      Aug 9
    • Wipro VendettaV
      US whoose techies are mostly asian immigrantes
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      Silicon Valley has acted as the conduit for the entire world's knowledge and capability. At least in the past that was more true. The American system enabled it. There's a reason why all this stuff was created in US and not France. I am not American, just calling the facts
      Aug 13
    • TripActions dj jobes
      @hitman047 and @vendettaV I think you guys are completely missing the point. America == immigrants. There is no “American race”. What makes America the best and brightest and world leader is that we brain-drain the rest of the world. Those “Asians” and “immigrants” you mentioned that are responsible for all our innovation are synonyms for “Americans”
      Aug 23
  • Microsoft yNiO12
    I'm going to play devil's advocate here, but why didn't she just leave? Stayed there for 3 years too when these kinds of red flags are visible from the start. Just vote with your feet. Let sexist people be sexist.
    Aug 8 10
    • SolarWinds AnEngineer
      Because if she and enough like her leave that environment the company will flounder and that environment will perish.

      If that happens at enough places management will get sharp to stomping that shit out.

      Anything else is just helping it persist imo.
      Aug 8
    • EBQ / Data gOJc32
      It's not that simple though. As other people have pointed out, one can try to get to a point where they can change the culture. There have also been studies that show the gender discrimination in hiring, so it tends to be more difficult for women to "just leave", as unfortunately a shitty job is often much better than no job.
      Aug 8
    • Hired VseC37
      What. If you love the mission and product of your company and believe in the financial outcome - barring physical or mental threats to your well being, people are generally committed to fixing their companies. They aren’t a startup anymore but this person obviously felt a deep connection to something they loved working on hurt them and that was painful.
      Aug 9
    • Unity snafuu
      Microsoft yes I would, and I would get that asshole fired for his conduct. Duh???
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      People shouldn't have to leave a workplace they love because of this stuff. There are laws and just good old fashioned being a good human.

      Riot is a wonderful place to work. There is a lot of creativity and passion. We are treated to all those perks etc. But in some parts of the company it appears like these things were going on. And for what it's worth I think that's true in many workplaces, sadly. Riot is making significant strides to improve.
      Aug 13
  • Google əๅɓoo⅁
    “Zero tolerance of general toxicity” - must be a great place to work lol.
    Aug 8 3
    • Lending Club NbpS28
      I prefer at least a little toxicity tbh
      Aug 8
    • MSCI JonasR
      The funniest that if the recruiter finds your lol account and finds that you were coursing when useless mofos are just stupid, than you are getting questions and looks and internally this is the culture...
      Aug 8
    • Facebook FSYS26
      In English please
      Aug 9
  • Google usurper
    My God it's run by a bunch of children
    Aug 8 0
  • Microsoft
    revert!

    Microsoft

    PRE
    Moosejaw, Google
    BIO
    Beware of elves
    revert!more
    Not at Riot but yes I have seen this too many times to count. At Microsoft. Recently
    Aug 8 2
    • Microsoft znJf21
      What? Someone taking credit for other's ideas, the dick pics or the fart-in-your-face thing? Because I've definitely seen the first, but never the other 2...
      Aug 8
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      Honestly I bet you someone like Ballmer did back when the company had 50 people...
      Aug 9
  • Facebook GXuw28
    This is old news, how did yall not hear about this? It was like 10x worse than Uber
    Aug 8 1
    • Riot Games gowkzuzhsh
      The senior leaders at riot are for the most part a bunch of married gaming (and non gaming) nerds with kids, not testosterone fueled jerks dating models 10+ years older than them out of insecurity like at several tech companies including old uber... also a lot of our senior people are women. You need a very active mind or cynical viewpoint or need to be in some forgotten corner of the office no one knows about to find it ‘broish’. It’s not.
      Aug 8
  • Riot Games gowkzuzhsh
    Not representative of the experiences I’ve had and those I know have had. This was also a year ago and the company has changed since then for the better, but it wasn’t as described then either. There were a handful of these kind of things and most obvious misconduct led to people being fired immediately many years ago as detailed in some of the lawsuits that came out. The main issue in that era was unaccountable senior people who were bad at their job in general. Mostly mismanagement and chaos more than gender specific, though not as inclusive as was possible or ideal.

    The journalist also ignored a ton of contrary interviews by women and omitted some details like the fact the woman who claims she couldn’t get support to hire women... was managed by a woman (omitted from original story).

    All that being said, the company is now a lot better managed and a lot has changed. I genuinely think it’s the best game company at this point.
    Aug 8 0
  • Riot Games FFeB77
    I've worked at Riot for many years, through most of the years this now year old article talks about. I'll tell you something most of the Rioters posting here who love Riot probably won't say...

    Most of what's in this article is true. It sucks. But it is. The article definitely has its own flavor of spin and works hard to paint the worst possible picture, but there are real victims at Riot. Bro-culture, sexism, rape jokes, the desire to be "Edgy" expressed by senior leadership, even the farting in lap COO, it's all true. I witnessed much of it and was aware of the stuff I did not witness.

    Was it all of Riot? Nope. Most of Riot's folks are some of the best, brightest, most talented and inspired people I've ever worked with. But Riot was a company of young 20 somethings once, running their first company, wanting to be cool with no concept of what real leadership was, just talent. And then as they grew older, they didn't know how to mature, caught between wanting to hang on to "what makes us special" and confusing that with immaturity..

    For a time. Things were changing, slowly, even before this article had come out. Management, leadership, knew they had to remove bad apples and bad examples. Fun fact, the harassment, bullying and poor leadership wasn't just targeting individuals in protected classes or women, it was happening to everyone under certain managers who believed ruling with fear and narcissism was how you climbed the power ladder.

    It woke up the company. It also caused real pain, it opened old wounds and it was "too late" but not "too little". Cleaning up the leadership bench, removing bad apples, taking complaints seriously, that all accelerated after the article. I witnessed a company deal with it like an open wound. First triage, then stabilize, then surgery. We're still undergoing various forms of surgery and healing cycles.

    People, great people, were hurt by people at Riot, some leaders, some not. At our size, some people probably are still being hurt (any company employee who thinks these problems, so common in our society, aren't happening at their company are just flat out wrong). Riot is better today and will be better in the future.

    It's still the best company I've ever had the pleasure to work for, warts and all.
    Aug 9 0
  • Riot Games yxBO11
    The article is from a year ago. Riot has it's issues but there's a real will and action towards meaningful and long lasting change. There's another article from the same publisher describing the efforts and interviewing employees about the change that's happening. I encourage everyone to check it out https://kotaku.com/riot-games-and-sexism-one-year-later-1837041215
    Aug 8 0
  • Microsoft Hank Hill
    Farting on someone’s face? Now that’s a real power move
    Aug 8 0
  • Uber Ldjp41
    A few lawsuits to bankrupt them should do it
    Aug 8 1
    • Riot Games G8ADN86R
      Holy hell. Getting lectured by Uber here. Amazing!

      Uber, you certainly have some experience dealing with D&I issues. But you might be projecting a little bit with the bankruptcy comment. Wanna tell us more about it?
      Aug 17
  • Autodesk \uwu/
    They made lol. Stealing someone's idea and selling as their own shouldn't come as a surprise. I mean isn't it obvious. hahha
    Aug 8 6
    • Riot Games yxBO11
      Applying the same logic, Facebook stole MySpace's idea and Google did the same with Yahoo.
      Aug 9
    • Autodesk \uwu/
      They built upon it. I see no actual contribution from riot in lol.
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games yxBO11
      Have you actually played LoL and DotA? Do you realize how different both products are? They are in the same genre called MOBA. Same as any other FPS, RPG or TCG games are.
      Aug 9
    • Autodesk \uwu/
      Yup I've played both enough to smell a rip-off. Look no one's saying you need to come up with new ideas all the time. But I'm sorry, lol was too close to DotA when it came out to be just called an inspiration.
      Aug 9
    • Riot Games yxBO11
      Interesting. Well, I respect your opinion, but would respectfully disagree. Besides, this went way too deep in the weeds and outside the main topic of the thread.
      Have a nice day and enjoy the weekend.
      Aug 9
  • Sunrun 👵🏼yoyo
    This is sad and as a female I’m glad I’ve never encountered anything like this. As a human, how could anyone find this acceptable? #empathy #toxicmasculinity
    Aug 8 1
    • Riot Games gowkzuzhsh
      If it seems sensational and unbelievable as presented that should tell you something.

      I think we needed better HR and better management then and we needed to work on inclusion a lot and will forever do so. I don’t think we were ever ‘bro’ or sexist overall even if a handful of individuals were bro and in a less inclusive way.
      Aug 8
  • Google bruin8
    Come on. Farting in a male friend's face when in only male company is hilarious
    Aug 8 3
    • Oracle / Eng helloxyz
      Try to say that publicly in your company as a joke tomorrow
      Aug 8
    • Ekodevices wef
      If you're not during work hours (so lunch would be a no time) and not on the company's property (working late, still no) then sure. But one of the negative aspects about having equal opportunity and comfort at work for everyone as much as possible is following social norms of appropriate behavior. A woman shouldn't be wandering around with a bloody tampon because her crew thinks it's hilarious and you shouldn't be farting on people's faces.
      Aug 9
    • Spotify / R&D
      J Damore

      Spotify R&D

      BIO
      Old and jaded. Lived through 2003 and 2007 like it was nothing. Laugh while you can monkey boy
      J Damoremore
      Amen brother
      Aug 16
  • New REeD55
    Stop calling everything sexism, racism of whateverism. . .
    Can't you guys say anything else ?
    Most of the time it has little to nothing to do with the sex, race, age, sex orientation.
    Aug 9 4
    • Citibank / Mgmt 🐟r🏷️
      Found the white guy.
      Aug 9
    • New REeD55
      And that's like an insult or something ? If you do think so you have issues.
      Aug 9
    • Sunrun 👵🏼yoyo
      Then, what is it?
      Aug 9
    • EPAM Systems / Eng
      knako!MF2E

      EPAM Systems Eng

      PRE
      Luxoft
      BIO
      from the overseas
      knako!MF2Emore
      I second this. Sometimes people just bad, mean, bullies - it's not necessary race/sex.
      Aug 9
  • Amazon soolong
    Awful
    Aug 8 3
  • Riot Games PDFSG20
    This is a year old article about allegations from several years earlier
    Aug 8 0