Riot Games Settles Lawsuit Over Discrimination, Sexual Harassment

Riot Games HQ - Publicity - H 2019
Patrick Shanley

The Santa Monica-based video game developer on Thursday announced the settlement at a town hall meeting.

Riot Games, the Santa Monica-based video game developer behind League of Legends, has settled a class action lawsuit filed against the company alleging discrimination and sexual harassment. The suit was filed after a report by Kotaku last year in which employees alleged a "toxic culture" at Riot. In May, over 100 employees staged a walkout at the company's Santa Monica headquarters.

"This is a very strong settlement agreement that provides meaningful and fair value to class members for their experiences at Riot Games," Ryan Saba of Rosen Saba, LLP, who represented the plaintiffs, said Thursday in a statement. "This is a clear indication that Riot is dedicated to making progress in evolving its culture and employment practices. A number of significant changes to the corporate culture have been made, including increased transparency and industry-leading diversity and inclusion programs. The many Riot employees who spoke up, including the plaintiffs, significantly helped to change the culture at Riot."

"Settling this class action is a victory for women in games," a spokesperson for the Riot Walkout Crew said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "While this settlement helps bring peace of mind to women at Riot, we want to acknowledge that issues of discrimination and harassment go beyond gender, and acknowledge the victims who aren’t covered in the suit."

The parties involved in the lawsuit are now looking to get court approval of the proposed settlement, whose terms will be disclosed when the filing occurs. 

"We are grateful for every Rioter who has come forward with their concerns and believe this resolution is fair for everyone involved," Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent said in a statement. "With this agreement, we are honoring our commitment to find the best and most expedient way for all Rioters, and Riot, to move forward and heal. Over the past year, we've made substantial progress toward evolving our culture and will continue to pursue this work as we strive to be the most inclusive company in gaming."

In March, Riot hired its first chief diversity officer, Angela Roseboro, to address the company's culture. Following the walkouts, Riot issued a statement in support of the organizers and said it would not be able to announce policy changes while in active litigation.

On Thursday evening, Riot held a town hall meeting, during which the settlement was announced. 

"This settlement is an important step on the journey of making the games industry a more diverse and welcoming place, but the fight is far from over," said the Riot Walkout Crew spokesperson. "Making Riot — and the entire industry — more inclusive is an ongoing process, and we are excited to see this big step in the right direction."