Riot Games Walkout Organizers "Disappointed" Leadership Hasn't Resolved Issues by Imposed Deadline

Patrick Shanley

"Conditions of current Rioters’ employment around forced arbitration, including those in active litigation, are unlikely to change anytime soon," protest organizers (and Riot employees) Indu Reddy, Ronnie Blackburn and Jocelyn Monahan said in a statement.

After more than 100 Riot Games employees staged a walkout early this month to protest the company's culture and forced arbitration policy against former contract employees now suing the company, organizers of the event have released a statement addressing the May 16 deadline they had set for leadership to address the issue.

"Conditions of current Rioters’ employment around forced arbitration, including those in active litigation, are unlikely to change anytime soon. We’re disappointed leadership doesn’t seem to be considering any major changes to their active policy," walkout organizers and current Riot employees Indu Reddy, Ronnie Blackburn and Jocelyn Monahan said.

The protests stemmed from a Kotaku report last year detailing a "toxic" culture at the company and a resulting lawsuit filed by former female contract employees alleging pay discrimination based on gender and sexual harassment. During the walkout, Riot employees held signs that read "If you silence one of us you silence all of us," while multiple workers stood before the crowd to call for change and share their own experiences at the company. 

"As we continue to pressure Riot to end forced arbitration, we are leveraging that teamwork and solidarity by involving more coworkers in the effort," they said. "We are weighing the options for our next steps, and will share more information next week. As always, our main goal is to make sure that workers at Riot feel heard and represented, and above all, safe."

Riot addressed the walkout in a blog post posted early Friday morning. "Last Monday, many Rioters shared their perspectives on arbitration, issues they’ve experienced at Riot, and changes they hope to see," the company said. "The Rioter walkout was an important moment in our company’s transformation, and it reaffirmed our commitment to keep fighting to make this the company we believe it can be."

Stating that the walkout "proves that we’re stronger when we leverage the diverse viewpoints of all of Riot," the company laid out the following plans of action to address concerns: a new forum on diversity and inclusion led by newly hired chief diversity officer Angela Roseboro; and inviting a "diverse group of Rioters" to help review the company's code of conduct.

The company says it is "accelerating" its diversity and inclusion initiatives but notes this is "an ongoing evolution, and there are certainly more updates to come."