×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • 'Devil May Cry 5' Ships Two

    'Devil May Cry 5' Ships Two Million Copies in First Two Weeks

    “Devil May Cry 5,” the latest entry in the long-running stylish action series from Capcom, shipped over 2 million units globally in its first two weeks. Capcom announced on Friday that the game achieved that milestone across the various platforms it’s appeared on, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It’s enjoyed a massively successful [...]

  • 'Star Wars Battlefront II' Gets New

    'Star Wars Battlefront II' Gets New Capital Supremacy Mode Next Week

    Electronic Arts’ online shooter “Star Wars: Battlefront II” is getting a new game mode called Capital Supremacy next week, the publisher announced on Friday. “Starting Mar. 26, the forces of the Galactic Republic and Separatists clash in Capital Supremacy – an immersive, Clone Wars-era authentic experience in ‘Star Wars Battlefront II’ – where non-linear ground [...]

  • What Game Workers Can Learn From

    What Game Workers Can Learn From Other Labor Organizations

    One year ago at GDC, Game Workers Unite packed a room with developers from across the industry hoping to take a stand against challenging, sometimes abusive, work conditions. The group has had a significant presence at this year’s event, with unionization even taking center stage during the Game Developers Choice Awards. The Game Workers Unite [...]

  • Dire Wolf Brings 'Eternal' and 'Raiders

    Dire Wolf Brings 'Eternal,' 'Raiders of the North Sea' to Switch This Spring

    Dire Wolf announced it’s bringing the popular free-to-play digital collectible card game “Eternal” and board game “Raiders of the North Sea” to Nintendo Switch this spring. “Eternal” and “Raiders of the North Sea” will mark the studio’s first Nintendo Switch titles, and will mark Dire Wolf’s first releases in their recently-announced bid to bring digital [...]

  • The 'PUBG Mobile' Club Open Gets

    The 'PUBG Mobile' Club Open Gets $2.5 Million Prize Pool

    The “PUBG Mobile” Club Open (PMCO) will have a $2.5 million prize pool when it debuts this year, developer PUBG Corp. and publisher Tencent announced on Friday. “PUBG Mobile” esports director James Yang made the announcement during a celebration for the battle royale title’s first anniversary. The PMCO features a Spring and Fall Split. The [...]

  • Cinematic Platformer 'Stela' Focuses on Depth,

    Cinematic Platformer 'Stela' Focuses on Depth, Mystery

    Depth means a lot of things in game design. It sometimes alludes to how intricate a system of combat or movement is under the surface. It could also focus on how many layers of character development a story features. Depth is a concept that most developers try to tackle at some point while designing their [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content