Riot Games Exec Out at Company Over George Floyd Post

Riot Games logo - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy Riot Games

The video game developer placed Ron Johnson on leave earlier this week, and by Friday they released a statement noting the change to his employment status.

Riot Games, the Santa Monica-based video game developer behind League of Legends, is no longer the employer of an executive who posted a Facebook note about George Floyd earlier this week. 

The message was posted by Ron Johnson, global head of consumer products, who was initially placed on leave while an investigation was launched.

According to Vice, which first reported the news, it included an image of Floyd with an overlay of white block text that read, in part, "The media and the left have made George Floyd into a martyr. But who was he really?" 

On Wednesday, Riot Games released a statement indicating that the company had launched an investigation into the incident.

"We’re aware of an offensive social media post made by a Riot employee and have launched an investigation," the statement read. "We’ll say firmly that the sentiment in that image is abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, which we detailed in the commitments we made Friday. While we don’t discuss the details of our investigations or their outcomes, we're following our disciplinary process closely and have placed him on leave pending its conclusion."

An update came on Friday, noting that Johnson "is no longer employed at Riot Games." 

The statement continued, "As we shared last week, Riot is taking thoughtful and deliberate action to help combat racism and injustice in the communities where we work and live. To start, we’re committing $1 million to areas where we know we can make an impact, including justice reform, long-term solutions to address racial bias, and support for local Black-owned businesses. We’re also striving to change the face of our industry and create opportunities, including by investing $10 million in founders underrepresented in the games industry and helping create a future pipeline of underrepresented talent for the gaming and tech world. We know there is much work to be done, and we vow to do our part.”

Floyd was killed on May 25 by Minnesota Police. Held down on the ground, he pleaded for air as police officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee into his neck. Following the incident, which was caught on video, Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers who were at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All four officers have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. 

Protests against police violence have taken place in all 50 U.S. states, while Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has called for the defunding of police departments.

June 12, 9:14 a.m.: Updated with new statement from Riot.