“Sorry for destroying your career, will $10k cover it?”
Earlier last year it was announced that the League of Legends developer Riot Games was being taken to court over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and overall hosting a toxic work environment. The lawsuit was filed by a current and former employee of the company and was set to bring Riot up for their actions. That lawsuit has now concluded and the final result is a $10M payout spread across 1000 women who worked between November 2014 and the current year. While it’s good the lawsuit was successful for the victims of Riots toxic behavior, was this number a substantial win? Did this lawsuit cause a positive shakeup in the company? Not really.
This payout in all seriousness will not make a dent in a company with profits like Riot. $10M is only 0.7% of what Riot made off of League of Legends last year alone, an estimated $1.4B for the year. But the even more glaring thing about this lawsuit, is that some of the people involved in the toxic behavior still work for Riot even today. It”s very telling how a company will preach about a need for self-reflection and revamping of its company culture, but will then keep the same people responsible for the needed change, some of whom were grabbing girls crotches in the office. But that brings me to my point for this article: companies don’t care about toxicity if they can still make money.
Riot isn’t improving themselves because they were upset at their toxic company culture, they’re improving themselves because they were caught. They got caught red-handed doing something wrong and they immediately went into damage control, spouting drivel about becoming more progressive moving forward. It’s nothing new though, how many companies have we seen doing this now, getting caught in a controversy and then sending out the PR person to get everyone to calm down? Blizzard has been making a streak of it lately what with the Blitzchung scandal and the earlier Ellie scandal when a player had his girlfriend pretend to be him while he played Overwatch, to test if that was enough to get put on an esports team. These companies aren’t changing because they’re listening to you, they’re changing because they still want you to buy their products.
People seem to have forgotten something, just because you like a product some company makes, that doesn’t mean they’re your friend. That’s not to say there aren’t companies that listen to their fans, but that’s not the norm. Take your pick of companies this past year or last who have been caught lying, doing something shady, or overall just being toxic. Bethesda could fit all three of those on its own, and still have more to talk about.
If you take anything away from this article, don’t buy into the moral grandstanding from them because odds are it’s just a facade. But aside from that, I wish the women affected by the events at Riot the best moving forward, and I hope that no one else has to deal with the same thing they did. Do you think Riot was punished enough? Do you think I’m wrong, and we can trust these companies to be better? Let me know in the comments.