Riot Games, publisher of AAA titles like League of Legends and Valorant, has announced that it will pay $100 million to settle a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit. The Tencent-owned game publisher has agreed to cover $20 million of plaintiffs’ legal fees and will pay $80 million to those in the lawsuit who claim that gender discrimination and sexual harassment was commonplace at the company.
Money matters — It’s been three years since the class-action lawsuit was filed back in November 2018. In 2019, Riot offered to pay $10 million to settle the suit. But the LA Times reported that California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) stopped Riot, asserting that the women involved in the lawsuit could potentially be entitled to $400 million or more.
Skyrocketing revenue — While the $100 million resolution is much lower than the DFEH’s figure, it’s exponentially better than $10 million, which is a drop in the bucket for Riot. In just a year, Riot has already made over $100 million in revenue from its three mobile games. What’s even wilder is that its flagship franchise League of Legends made the company $1.75 billion in revenue in 2020 alone. So holistically speaking, $100 million is chump change for this gaming giant.
Riot’s culture has improved marginally in the years since the Kotaku exposé, though some departments have always been more siloed and are thus less affected by Riot’s larger workplace culture. However, one Riot employee told Upcomer earlier this year that the company is “still a boys club.”
Loose ends — As Riot tries to move beyond its “culture of sexism,” it’s important to note that former Riot employee Sharon O’Donnell’s sexual harassment allegations are not a part of this class-action settlement. Earlier this year, Riot concluded investigations into its CEO, Nicolo Laurent, arguing that there was no evidence backing O’Donnell’s claims.
Interestingly, current Riot employees seem to have overwhelmingly sided with Laurent, as he received an 87% approval rating in a recent company-wide survey.