Staff at League of Legends studio Riot Games are reportedly planning walkouts following last week's news that the company is attempting to quash ongoing gender discrimination lawsuits and impose private arbitration.
As reported by Kotaku, Riot's attorney is countering two of the five lawsuits filed against the studio, insisting that those involved waived their rights to sue under the terms of their employment contracts. That news, apparently, did not sit well with Riot staff - particularly given the executive team's repeated promises to improve company culture following damning reports of systematic sexism within the studio over the last year.
According to sources speaking to Waypoint, employees at Riot have been considering a walkout in protest of the company's latest aggressive stance against those filing lawsuits. "Talk of a walkout has been brewing among a number of folks with varying levels of investment since Kotaku's first article hit," revealed one source, "leadership consistently promised transparency/actions to be taken and then did not deliver on that promise."
Indeed, last September, following an exhaustive Kotaku report detailing Riot's discriminatory work environment, the studio posted a lengthy apology and promised a "cultural evolution". That included the hiring of a Chief Diversity Officer, later announced to be Angela Roseboro.
It was reportedly Roseboro that responded to word of planned walkouts via Riot's Slack, writing that the company recognised "some Rioters are not feeling heard", and acknowledged that reports around arbitration could leave staff feeling "like we're not moving forward".
"Personally I completely understand how this may feel like a setback," Roseboro said, "but my hope is that through this storm we will be a better version of ourselves."
Roseboro's message also invited employees to attend "small group sessions [to] talk through your concerns, and provide as much context as we can about where we've landed and why". This, however, reportedly lead to another "backlash", with one source saying "people were frustrated at yet another example of closed-door discussions instead of transparency... Rioters are sick of feeling like they have no visibility into what leadership is actually doing to improve."
Despite Roseboro's assurances that Riot is "committed to re-earning [staff] trust by having an open and transparent dialogue, and doing the right thing by all of our Rioters", it sounds like many employees are tired of unfulfilled promises and are ready to take action of their own.