A design director on “League of Legends” responded to concerns over Riot Games’ harassment issues in his personal blog and tweeted from his Twitter account Wednesday.
Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street writes that some of the situations he has heard about since the story broke about the rampant sexism at Riot Games qualify as “horrible and inexcusable.”
“I am doing a lot of listening to make sure the women on my team and at Riot feel like we hear them, we really understand their point of view, and we understand what they want changed,” Street stated.
Street further says that although employees have been fired for this type of harassment, there is typically no announcement about “why someone is being terminated, and that is particularly true if there is a victim involved that you want to protect.” The result being that even though perpetrators may be punished, there may not be sufficient communication to the rest of the organization that this type of behavior isn’t tolerated.
Street says that a primary concern is female employees feeling like they cannot contribute (or that if they do, their voices will not be heard) or be considered fairly for advancement.
Though Street expresses his opinions on the matter, he notes that it “would be more meaningful to ask the women.”
Meagan Marie, a current senior community manager with Crystal Dynamics and former Riot employee posted her experience on her blog, noting that she resigned after six months with the company. In her post, Marie notes the various inappropriate questions she was asked, as well as jokes about rape and other concerns that eventually led her to leave her position.
“The large majority of Riot employees I’ve met have been lovely, and … there are many people who weren’t subject to sexist behavior and harassment,” Marie wrote. “That being said, from my own experiences and that of many others speaking out this week, an unacceptable number of people – primarily, but not exclusively women – have been subject to inappropriate behavior at Riot for years. It is systemic to the company’s culture and needs to be addressed as such.”
The final straw for Marie was when she was called sexist for saying she didn’t want to share a hotel room with an unknown male employee, which came up because of a typo in an email in which it appeared Marie was being asked to do such.
Marie noted many other issues in her post, and also brought up the discrimination in the form of generalizations made against women as players of “League of Legends.” In one instance, Marie is told “that we shouldn’t put cosplayers on stage to play ‘League’ live, because they are mostly women, and therefore not very good at the game.”
This was a repeated sentiment about women expressed in the original story that broke, as Riot emphasizes ability to play “League of Legends” as a high priority when considering job applicants as well. Street also brings this point up in his post.
“Historically, Riot has desired that all our new hires be active game players, and ideally ‘League’ players,” Street wrote. “Like many games, ‘League’ skews heavily male, so we are starting with an already smaller pool for potential applicants. We are trying to explore new avenues for how we source potential applicants, and while I think it’s challenging to really be good at game development if you don’t love games, we think there are opportunities there to broaden the kind of folks we interview.
“Look, this is an industry (gaming specifically, but tech at large) that has a pretty terrible track record for women and minorities. It has been a problem everywhere I have worked, and sadly Riot is not immune either. Riot talks a lot more about culture than anywhere I have worked, so perhaps that makes it doubly disappointing that we haven’t been able to deliver. Industry-wide, if not culturally-wide, these issues are not easy to fix, but they are important to fix, and that gives me hope that we won’t give up.