Riot Games to pay $10 Million for Toxic ‘Bro Culture’
By Jeremiah Thompson
Despite laws that are in place to combat sexism in the corporate culture, cases of sexism still remain. In a recent lawsuit, female employees charged Riot Games for broad gender discrimination in the corporation. Many Riot employees left the company due to that discrimination.
Based in Los Angeles, this video game company plans on paying $10 million dollars to about 1,000 female employees. These employees have worked at Riot Games within the past five years and have been subject to the negative “bro culture” that inundated the company. CBS News pointed out that Riot’s company had violated “California’s equal pay, discrimination, and retaliation statues.”
Furthermore, female employees had to deal with teasing and sexual objectification while working there. According to court documentation, there was “an ongoing e-mail chain of ‘Riot Games Hottest Woman Employees’ ” that rated their female employees. Blatant sexism like this is common in the media industry but is still no less illegal.
Ronnie Blackburn Doesn’t Stand for Sexism
Without women like Ronnie Blackburn, who tweeted about this problem, the problem would have continued. Ronnie tweeted:
“To every former, current, & future female Rioter, I am sorry I didn’t speak up when I experience sexism at Riot. I had the power & the will, which some understandably lack, & I chose silence out of fear for my career. I am sorry & I want you to know that my silence ended today.”Ronnie Blackburn on Twitter
Ronnie is not the only person standing up for themselves. Jessica Negron and Melanie McCracken are as fighting back as well. As the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, they have also had similar instances of discrimination while working at Riot. Among all the staff who work at Riot, according to the lawsuit, 80 percent of them are men. Due to such a large discrepancy between male and female employees, the culture turned towards that of the majority.
Riot Games seem to have taken their employees’ claims of sexual harassment very seriously. According to their website, Riot “ will continue to strive to be a great company.” Through paying this settlement, they are seemingly working towards improving their company. Ryan Saba, the plaintiff’s lawyer, also seem hopeful that this settlement shows the cultural growth in the company.
Whether or not this settlement will actually improve the culture of the company remains a mystery. But Riot Games, along with others, remain hopeful that this is the first step in many towards improving the company and their future.