Employees of the studio that created League of Legends complain of discrimination.On August 7, Kotaku journalist Cecilia D’Anastasio published a large-scale investigation of sexism within the company Riot Games, responsible for creating the League of Legends. The article cites numerous complaints of female employees against discrimination by men.
Particular attention is paid to the story of an employee named Lacey, who decided on an unusual experiment.
Once, Lacey conducted an experiment: after the idea proposed to her was not accepted during the meeting, she suggested to a male colleague to offer the same idea to the same group of people in a few days. He was skeptical, but she insisted that he try to do it. “And now, a week after that, he came, offered the same thing as me, and the whole room began to exult:“ Oh my God, this is wonderful! ”His face turned red, and his eyes flooded with tears, says Lacy. “They just don’t respect women.”
Kotaku journalists talked to 28 former and current Riot employees, and many of them told something similar. Most of them agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity for fear that such confessions could harm their gaming career and anger among League of Legends fans. If you believe the journalist Kotaku, from the stories of many of her interlocutors emerges the image of the company, in which women are biased. However, a certain number of employees, including women working in senior positions, refute these allegations and claim that they have not personally encountered gender discrimination.
Women who worked at Riot Games complain about a whole range of problems.
Sexism and “bro-culture”
Three employees said that they were being prepared for promotion, shifting work for them, which employees of higher rank were supposed to do, and then they were suddenly refused, appointing a man to a higher position. Both men and women say that colleagues and leaders sent images of their genitals.
One interlocutor Kotaku claims to have seen an electronic correspondence in which colleagues discussed her as a sexual object: they assumed that she was perfect for “sleeping and not calling back”. Another said that she had learned from a colleague that she was on the list of those with whom the company’s management wanted to sleep with – they supposedly made a detailed list. The two women who left Riot claim that they left because of the pressure on them that arose after they had spoken on the topic of gender discrimination in the company. A male employee told Kotaku about “bro-culture”, which allegedly thrives behind closed Riot doors: some of the top management, he said, regularly grabbed him by the genitals.
The woman who wanted to remain anonymous, who worked for the company, claims to have studied the gender composition of the company for driving license and found out that 80% of the employees are men. According to her, working at Riot is “just like working in a huge Brotherhood.”
The requirement to be a “hardcore gamer” and bias
An employee of Riot Games tells that at the interview she was asked to remember her favorite trinket from a raid of 2004 in World of Warcraft. She claims that she convincingly proved to the interviewer that she was not lying about her gaming experience, but he continued to interrogate her. Later, colleagues confirmed to her that the interview would take place in a completely different tone if she were not a woman.
Another woman claims that after she told an interview about her RPG experience, she was asked if she was playing “real games like Call of Duty”.
He continued to ask the same question, no matter how many times I listed everything I played. At the end he asked: “If a person has just met you, how will he understand that you are a gamer?”
This, according to journalist Kotaku, is another big problem: Riot only hires “hardcore gamers”, even for positions that are not directly related to game development. One employee recalled that at the interview she was announced not hardcore enough because she told about her interest in board games; the other faced the same problem, telling that he was playing not in League of Legends, but in World of Warcraft. At the same time, women are subjected to additional discrimination: employers are not inclined to believe in their “hardcore”.
Disrespect for women
Many sources told Kotaku about how men constantly interrupted them during discussions. Kristen Fuller, a player relations specialist who left Riot in March, argues that sometimes it was difficult for her to even insert a word.
I talked, and someone started talking at the same time with me, and did it all louder until I stopped. Many men do not accept “no” as an answer.
Her former colleague confirms Fuller’s words, adding that she was often forced to do “the secretary’s job,” despite the fact that it was not her responsibility. She left Riot in such frustrated feelings that she did not even say goodbye to her colleagues, and now she is trying to bypass the company’s offices.
Some Kotaku interlocutors claim that they were faced with double standards, trying to impart some idea to the leadership: ideas coming from women were not taken seriously.
An anonymous employee of Riot claims that she had heard reproaches that she was talking too loudly – although the men in the company were supposedly talking much louder and it was difficult to shout them. Another says that she ran into problems because she spoke about everything directly, acting in accordance with the declared principles of the company.
Another tried to explain to colleagues why you should not use words such as “bitch” and “woman” (pussy) as insults. In response, she was accused of putting a negative meaning in the words of her colleagues and “not trusting them” – according to the principles of the company, the company’s employees should always assume that their colleagues act with the best intentions.
Three men from Riot Games, with whom the journalist Kotaku talked, confirm that the company is not doing well with the feedback on women. Sexists are not punished or upset even by those who are superior in their positions.
Barriers to increase
At the end of the article, it’s about why women in Riot find it harder to get promoted than men. The company’s management states that it adheres to the principle of meritocracy and judges everyone solely by their skills, but Fuller argues that inside Riot the word “meritocracy” is used mainly in an ironic way, because “everyone knows what’s the matter”.
A source who wished to remain anonymous, who worked with Riot’s senior management, suggests that women rarely get promoted at the company because men want to keep making sexist jokes. If enough women get into the top management, this, in his opinion, will destroy the atmosphere of “fraternity.”
In turn, Oksana Kubushina, who holds the highest position in the company’s management among women, argues that such bias does not exist, and all decisions are made solely on the basis of the results of a particular person’s work.
Reply Riot Games
On August 8, Riot Games released an official statement in response to Kotaku’s material, in which it acknowledged the existence of problems, but drew attention to the fact that the company has been addressing them for many years.
This article sheds light on areas in which we have failed to meet our values. This will not continue. We have taken measures regarding many specific cases described in the article, and we will persistently deal with each problem and eliminate its causes.