×

Riot Says It Puts Employees on Leave ‘When Necessary’ After Toxic Behavior Report

Riot declined to confirm whether chief operating officer Scott Gelb, named in a Kotaku report about alleged toxic behavior at the company, is under investigation or on administrative leave, but the “League of Legend” creator did tell Variety that it “[has], and will, put Rioters on administrative leave when necessary.”

“We’re not commenting on any individual at any level on personnel matters,” a representative told Variety. “It’s the ethical thing to do, plus it’s the law.” But, the company did say administrative leave is the first thing it considers when an investigation starts, although it’s not a decision it makes lightly.

The statement comes one day after Kotaku published a new report on alleged behavior at Riot involving Gelb. Sources told Kotaku that Gelb has a reputation at the company. He’s been known to allegedly fart on coworkers, tap male coworkers genitals, and sometimes hump colleagues for comedic effect.

Some current and former Riot Games employees say they’re skeptical the company will truly hold itself accountable for a company culture many remains toxic and sexist.

Riot told Variety that the decision to place an employee on administrative leave as part of an investigation varies.

“This decision is based on a number of factors, but every decision is unique and complex,” the Riot representative said. “In every case these decisions are personal and highly confidential, so I can’t discuss why a decision was made or even that a decision process existed for any case. To be clear, our top priority in every case is the well-being of all Rioters involved and maintaining the integrity of the investigation. I will say though that we have, and will, put Rioters on administrative leave when it’s necessary.”

Riot said it’s working to eradicate the behaviors described in Kotaku’s story, and it assures people that accountability starts at the top. “We have systems in place to ensure we apply the same level of rigor to all investigations, regardless of the seniority of those involved,” it said. It’s created a special committee comprised of two non-Riot directors and Youngme Moon, an internationally recognized business leader, professor, and expert on corporate governance. The committee’s mandate is to oversee and review everything related to Riot’s diversity and inclusivity initiatives and cultural transformation, along with the performance of Riot’s senior management on these efforts.

Riot also recently hired former Uber executive Frances Frei to help navigate changes at the company. According to Frei, “Riot isn’t interested simply in fixing problems on the surface, they have an ambition to be an industry leader and to provide a roadmap for others to follow. I share that ambition and am eager to help them navigate this process.”

“This cultural evolution remains Riot’s first priority and we strongly agree that this change needs to start at the top and we hold that everyone accountable,” Riot said. “We will ensure that we have the right leaders in place to drive the change that we know Riot needs.”

More Gaming

  • Frank Pearce - Blizzard Entertainment

    Blizzard Co-Founder Frank Pearce Exits After 28 Years

    Frank Pearce, one of the three co-founders of game developer Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company. The announcement of Pearce’s exit comes less than a year after president Michael Morhaime, another Blizzard co-founder, left the company. J. Allen Brack, executive producer of “World of Warcraft,” took over the position as president of Blizzard. “The time [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • The Lion King

    'Lion King' VFX Supervisor Rob Legato to Keynote at the 2019 View Conference

    Rob Legato, visual effects supervisor of “The Lion King,” “The Addams Family” co-director Conrad Vernon and Baobab Studios’ co-founder and chief creative officer Eric Darnell, director of the VR studio’s Emmy- and Annie-winning VR short “Crow: The Legend,” are rounding out the keynote speakers at this fall’s 20th edition of the View Conference in Turin, [...]

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Releases Updated Switch With Better Battery

    Nintendo just refreshed its wildly successful Switch game console, but the company isn’t giving existing Switch owners many reasons to upgrade: The renewed game console comes with a better battery that guarantees up to 9 hours of game play, while otherwise sticking with the same design and features of the original Switch. The new model [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    U.S. Consumers to Spend $26 Billion on Music, Video Subscriptions This Year

    U.S. consumers are expected to spend a combined $26 billion on music and video subscription services this year, according to new estimates from the Consumer Technology Association. That’s up from $20.4 billion in 2018, and nearly twice the amount spent on such services in 2017. Propelled by the continued success of Apple Music and Spotify, [...]

  • Gears 5 - Xbox Game Studios

    'Gears 5' Will Exclude Smoking Depictions After Concerns Raised by Youth Anti-Tobacco Org (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Gears 5,” the forthcoming installment in the “Gears of Wars” third-person shooter game franchise, will be a smoke-free establishment. The game, set for Sept. 10 release, comes from Xbox Game Studios and game developer The Coalition. The decision to remove all smoking references from “Gears 5” came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content