Per a Vice Games report published yesterday, a former Riot Games employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company and CEO Nicolo Laurent.
DISCLAIMER: Discussion of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
According to the complaint, Laurent harassed former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell “based on her sex or gender” during her time at Riot Games. Some listed examples include Laurent commenting on O’Donnell’s physical appearance, Laurent telling O’Donnell to be more feminine, Laurent telling female employees to have more children in order to handle COVID stress, Laurent placing his arm around O’Donnell and asking her to travel with him, and more.
The complaint also states Laurent asked O’Donnell if she “could handle him when they were alone at his house.” Another example includes Laurent asking O’Donnell to “cum” over to his house while his wife was away.
The lawsuit states O’Donnell was punished at work for rebuffing Laurent’s advances and eventually fired in July 2020. Punishments allegedly included a lack of pay for her clocked and overtime work, along with a lack of meal breaks.
When asked for a comment on the matter, Riot Games said it’s investigating the claims made in the lawsuit. Laurent “has pledged his full cooperation and support during this process,” though his role remains unchanged for the time being.
Also, Riot Games confirmed O’Donnell’s exit from the company in July 2020. However, the company said she was dismissed based on “multiple well-documented complaints from a variety of people. Any suggestion otherwise would be false.”
This is the latest in a string of troubling behavior at Riot Games. In 2018, Kotaku reported on the culture of sexism involving numerous examples of gender discrimination. May 2019 saw over 100 Riot Games employees walk out and protest the company’s practice of using forced arbitration to settle sexual discrimination lawsuits.
Although Riot Games settled a gender discrimination lawsuit to the tune of $10 million in December 2019, the company was granted permission in January 2021 to move the lawsuit to individual arbitration. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 1,000 female employees.
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Williams Pelegrin is a Managing Editor for Back to the Gaming. When he’s not writing up news, he’s talking a walk around the neighborhood with his wife and his dog. Either that, or drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Or both.