Riot Games might be known for its popular games such as Valorant or League of Legends, but it was not too long ago that it was facing plenty of unhappiness in the workplace. A Kotaku report exposed a culture of sexism rampant at the studio. A gender discrimination class action lawsuit was filed. About 1,000 female employees were to get a split of $10 million USD. However, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed for the amount to be raised to $400 million USD instead. With that saga ongoing, things are not looking up just yet. Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent is now facing a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Sharon O’Donnell, the CEO’s former executive assistant, has filed for the lawsuit against both the company and CEO. O’Donnell alleged several instances of bad behavior on Laurent’s part while under employment. The CEO put forward the question if she “could handle him when they were alone at his house,” and that she “should ‘cum’ over to his house” when his wife was away. The implied meaning was of a sexual nature.
That is not all. The lawsuit also claims that Laurent suggestively described his underwear size. He also emphasized his wife’s jealousy of beautiful women, and advised women at Riot Games to have children to deal with pandemic stress. Needless to say, that is some discriminatory (and incredibly awkward) behavior, which does not bode well for the Riot Games CEO facing sexual harassment claims.
The sexual harassment lawsuit against the Riot Games CEO goes further. Punishment for O’Donnell came in the form of no overtime pay or meal breaks. This was after she did not succumb to Laurent’s advances. She was fired a while after.
However, Riot Games has since refuted this. She was let go based on several complaints from different people.
Riot Games has begun an investigation into O’Donnell’s other claims. As it is the CEO of Riot Games facing the sexual harassment claim, the investigation will be handled by an external law firm. The company’s board of directors will also form a special committee to oversee things.
This will come as a blow for the company following the first incident. A year after the initial report, the company underwent several substantial changes in a bid to change its culture. Unfortunately, this might not be the case for the CEO.