Riot Games Settles Sexism and Harassment Suit
December 2, 2019 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Riot made like $7 billion in the last 5 years.

Maybe they could do better than $10 million.
posted by Reyturner at 4:19 PM on December 2, 2019 [32 favorites]

On one hand, it's good to see this settlement. On the other hand, the fact that this settlement exists should have been grounds for Tencent to start cleaning out Riot's upper echelons.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:28 PM on December 2, 2019 [7 favorites]

That number seems way too low, unless there were substantially fewer women working there than even tech's usual imbalance.
posted by Nec_variat_lux_fracta_colorem at 4:39 PM on December 2, 2019 [9 favorites]

Said one current employee, “It’s great that Riot has decided to compensate women for the abuse they suffered here, but their rhetoric about ‘healing and moving on’ leaves something to be desired.” She continued, “It’s difficult to heal and move on when we are faced with the reality that at the end of the day, Riot prefers to pay the women still here for the trouble of continuing to work with alleged abusers.”

Well said.
posted by agregoli at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2019 [41 favorites]

This is a slap on the wrist. Along with the company not actually changing anything meaningful and it's 100% bullshit.
posted by Nelson at 4:40 PM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

According to Wikipedia, Riot had 2,500 employees in 2018. It's hard to extrapolate from that to determine how many people will receive a payout from this.

If we take 2,500 as a very coarse guesstimate, though (maybe 1,000 current employees, plus another 1,500 previous employees) – that's only $4,000 each (on average). Which, yeah – not a lot.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:47 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Someone on Twitter said 500 total, but at the end of the day the $10MM is going to be distributed by some proportional calculations.
posted by rhizome at 5:00 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I used to spend a fair amount of money with Riot, but I stopped a few years ago when this all came to light. I still play League of Legends, I figure I spent my money, I'm gonna keep playing the game. I told myself, I'll start spending money with them again when the Kotaku article comes out that says "Riot fixed their shit."

This...this is not that article.
posted by explosion at 5:03 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Over the last year, Riot has undertaken several steps to mitigate its culture of sexism, including overhauling its recruitment, hiring and promotion processes; offering clearer job descriptions; removing problem employees; bringing in third-party culture consultants and a diversity director; appointing women into leadership positions; and offering employees channels to offer feedback on their progress.

Turn in your cards, y'all, I got the full bingo in just this single paragraph.

Now everybody throw in a quarter for every time they've heard one of these bromides tossed out to try to defuse a lawsuit ("removing problem employees"--definitely a step that requires a class-action settlement to affect. And hiring a diversity director! Betcha a dollar it's a white guy), and we'll use the billion dollars we raise to actually pay these women the losses they suffered by burning prime working years in a godawfully caustic misogynist shitshow.
posted by Mayor West at 5:05 PM on December 2, 2019 [13 favorites]

I have never heard of a settlement like this before. You would think that if the level of fuck up was so big that *every female employee was affected and is owed a cut* that the cut should also be proportional to the level of the fuck up. This seems like a half solved problem. Like if Solomon was going to really cut the baby in half and it wasn't a test. Like hey I realize this is a problem and you ladies deserve justice so here it is. Take it or leave it.
posted by bleep at 6:12 PM on December 2, 2019 [10 favorites]

As a female tech worker who got shafted by the rampant sexism at my last company to the point that I had to leave without first finding another job, I am ultra happy for these women. Could the settlement be better? Yes. Will Riot actually learn anything from this? Maybe, maybe not. But at least something was fucking done for once. I'm so tired of seeing this shit receive exactly zero consequences or even acknowledgement, that I will gladly celebrate this small victory.
posted by nirblegee at 7:39 PM on December 2, 2019 [38 favorites]

Guys guys but this will delay the release date of Incels II : Electric Brogaloo
posted by benzenedream at 10:17 PM on December 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

Women who were forced out of the company already and took settlements or signed releases will not be getting any of this settlement, as they were barred from joining the class.

Even so, I'm curious how many women that measly ten million will get split between.
posted by kafziel at 10:48 PM on December 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

1000 women. Payments vary based on seniority, but it averages to $10,000 a woman. Which comes nowhere near the cost of typical gender salary discrimination, not to mention compensation for a hostile working environment.

Make no mistake, this settlement is basically nothing. It is a symbolic victory and I like nirblegee's comment that at least something happened. But all the senior management who created this environment still work for the company. Folks who spoke up and were fired in retaliation or badgered into quitting are still gone. From what I hear there has been some genuine effort inside Riot to tone down the worst of the bro culture but you gotta bet there are pockets of resentful men who are waiting for their revenge.
posted by Nelson at 7:01 AM on December 3, 2019 [11 favorites]

This might be a dumb question, but how would a large employer even figure out which of all of its past and present employees are female? i.e. at my own employer I'm sure there are various venues where my gender has been asked and collected, but I don't think in any systematic way.
posted by dusty potato at 7:40 AM on December 3, 2019

Maybe it's because my work involves being thoughtful about these kinds of implementation details, but thinking about designing and implementing a policy to identify eligible recipients is giving me heartburn. Like, are trans women who were not out during their tenure eligible? What about nonbinary people who get misgendered female and were probably subject to the same mistreatment? Are there women who answered "Rather Not Say" to their gender on some random survey but might have responded differently if they knew it would affect their ability to get fair compensation? Or is the company just going to send out an email to every past and present employee asking "Are you a woman?"
posted by dusty potato at 7:49 AM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

The LA Times article also notes "The final dollar amount that each employee who self-identifies as female receives will vary depending on how long they worked for Riot". Not sure where the text "self-identify" comes from but I'm guessing the LA Times reporter is quoting something from the settlement and Riot is taking an inclusive definition. I imagine their law firm will contact all employees past and present and ask them if they wish to be considered eligible for the settlement.

Worth noting men were harmed by Riot's culture of sexual harassment too. I mean I never imagined "Ball Tapping" was a thing anyone did after high school, yet here we are. I guess part of the calculation of the settlement was that the harm to women was in general much higher than to men, so to simplify they focus the meager dollar amount on the women.

The chief ball tapper Scott Gelb remains as Chief Operating Officer at Riot after a brief unpaid vacation.
posted by Nelson at 8:02 AM on December 3, 2019 [6 favorites]

On one hand, it's good to see this settlement. On the other hand, the fact that this settlement exists should have been grounds for Tencent to start cleaning out Riot's upper echelons.

I wouldn't ever think to look to Tencent for moral practices, let alone a crusade against sexism. The CCP doesn't seem particularly keen on human rights at the moment.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:28 AM on December 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

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