Current and former Riot Games employees have taken the time to react to Kotaku’s story regarding sexism within the company.
Some have reported that, although they did not experience such things themselves, that they acknowledged that such things happened in other departments or under different units within Riot. InfoSec team member Emma “Nymia” McCall noted that her team was among the most welcoming ones she’s worked with; and senior narrative designer Katie Chironis highlighted her personal account where her skills were acknowledged upon interviewing, and she was given the reins of the project.
Others sought to provide support. Tea “Greenily” Chang, who works in UX for Game Systems, highlighted how support from within the organization has been mounting (culminating in the above image from diversity inclusion manager Soha “Sokareemie” El-Sabaawi). Talent Ops member Elyse “xylese” Adea highlighted the support of her manager when facing issues similar to the ones on the article. Former Rioters Michael “IronStylus” Maurino (art designer behind Diana and Leona), Jonathan “Taco Storm” Singh (production, esports) and Frank “Mirhi” Fields (editorial, esports) amplified the message on the article.
Since the article’s release, more people have been comfortable voicing relief as stories have been made public, such as former employees Jessie “Gogo_Usagi” Perlo and Devon “Runaan” Giehl. Others delivered a personal account of their negative experiences within Riot Games.
MiniWhiteRabbit was picked up for her knowledge of building livestreams and podcasts, but not only held hands with women who endured harassment, she witnessed her boyfriend endure harassment, and then endured dismissals of opinion — ultimately leaving the company after an illogical rebuttal too many.
Jes Negrón, who openly participated in the story, also added more points to her experience, as her enjoyment of her work with Riot only amplified matters; “That’s why it hurt so much when my managers, and even some of those around me I called friend, betrayed me,” she said in a Twitter thread as she elaborated on experiencing gaslighting after stepping up to a role she never received.
Another account, that of Meagan Marie (ex-Riot Dublin) who had to face negative reactions upon suggesting different archetypes for female champions which, at the time, had similar body shapes. Here is an excerpt of what she dealt with (although the full read paints a more horrible story):
Things only got worse the longer I stayed at Riot. I didn’t go out with colleagues after events because strip clubs seemed to be a common destination. Asking me what age I lost my virginity at was deemed appropriate conversation during a team dinner, and employees I didn’t know prodded into how my sex life worked in a long-distance relationship.
I felt out of place in my direct team as well. Our Jira sprints were named things like “thong.” I was the only woman on that particular team, and so a senior staff member named us the “Bros and Ho”. I immediately tried to shut that down, but it was used for weeks regardless.
The article was a topic of community discussion at large. Former LoLKing site manager and editor Rhea “Ashelia” Monique noted how she avoided joining the company after receiving unsolicited advances from employees she worked with on community-related projects (among others).
LPL shoutcaster Indiana “Froskurinn” Black took offense at some of the reactions on Reddit and Twitter, confronting them head-on (and sparking discussions with community figure Sky Williams and H2K Gaming analyst Kelsey Moser):
I find it, frankly, laughable how so many people have the privlliage to look at a headline like this and say: "keep an open mind and recognize the credible aspects of this story. Then decide." While so many women have lived these experiences daily. Get on the same page already.— FroskEUrinn (@Froskurinn) August 7, 2018
The caster later voiced that tackling the problem is more important (rather than denying or discussing its existence), a matter Sokareemie echoed in another message to the audience — calling for accountability as Riot’s diversity and inclusion team takes initiative:
That’s all I will say for now. We’ve got work to do. It’s messy work, it’s painful, and it’s on the backs of the generations before ours that pushed for change. Keep holding us accountable. Never accept mediocrity. Never be complacent. Always keep moving forward ❤️.— soha (@sokareemie) August 8, 2018