Riot Games Special Committee Claims “No Evidence” of CEO Wrongdoing
Riot Games has released a statement revealing the results of their internal investigation into the allegations against CEO Nicolo Laurent. Laurent was the subject of a lawsuit filed by former Riot executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell. The suit made various allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and wrongful termination.
Today (March 16th), Riot Games released a statement about their investigation into the allegations. According to findings by their Special Committee, “there was no evidence that Laurent harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against the plaintiff.” Additionally, the committee found that “No action should be taken against Laurent.”
The statement outlines the methodology which led the company to this point. Following the allegations, Riot Games retained the services of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP. This company was employed to investigate the allegations on behalf of Riot Games in an “an impartial and comprehensive.” The results of this investigation were then put to the Special Committee, a group made up of Riot Games directors—excluding company founders. This group came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence and that no action should be taken.
Following the release of their new statement, Riot Games has now reportedly filed additional documents in their countersuit against Sharon O’Donnell. In these documents, Riot states that the “claim that ‘female employees are discriminated against, harassed, and treated as second class citizens’ [within Riot Games] is meritless and irrelevant to the Plaintiff’s case.”
In his own statement published alongside the company’s, Nicolo Laurent repeatedly outlined that all allegations are untrue. He also stated that he hadn’t previously denied the allegations out of fear of influencing the internal investigation. Laurent went on to reference his own use of “poor jokes” and said that there are “moments I continue to reflect on and learn from.”
Riot Games’ “Culture of Sexism”
Previously, Riot has used a Special Committee system to deal out suspensions and other punishments to board members. In December 2018, Riot COO Scott Gelb was accused of sexual misconduct. As a result of a Special Committee, Gelb was suspended for two months.
However, the result will do little to quell the dissatisfaction with Riot over the perceived mishandling of internal issues. In 2018, the “culture of sexism” at Riot Games studio was first revealed in a report by Kotaku. In 2019, it was revealed that Riot Games looked to pay $10 million to settle it’s gender discrimination suits out of court. Just yesterday, it was reported that Alienware ended its multi-year partnership with the company due to the sexual harassment lawsuit leveled against Laurent.
Riot Game’s full statement can be viewed on their official website.