Game publisher Riot Games has agreed to pay $100 million to former employees who sued the company for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and disparity.
The 2018 lawsuit settlement will be split among more than 1,000 female employees and approximately 1,300 contract workers. The lawsuit claimed that these employees received unwanted sexual advances, mocking lines from male colleagues questioning their status as players and being passed over for promotions. The settlement also prompted Riot Games to commit to improving conditions for current and future employees.
“I am so happy that we have taken this first step towards justice for the women of Riot Games,” said Jes Negron, a former Riot Games employee and settlement plaintiff. “I hope this case serves as an example for other studios and an inspiration for women in the industry in general. Women in gaming don’t have to suffer inequity and harassment in silence – change is possible.”
Riot Games is the publisher behind League of Legends, the most popular esports game in the world. The game has 12 professional international leagues and is home to a player base of 180 million monthly players. The company recently collaborated with Netflix to create the prequel anime series Esotericwhich was the 22nd most-watched series on the platform in 2021.
An initial $10 million settlement was reached for the lawsuit in December 2019, but two California agencies — the Fair Employment and Housing and Labor Standards Enforcement departments — objected, saying that he had been precipitated.
A new attorney has been hired, and just over two years later, Monday’s settlement was announced by Riot and the plaintiffs’ new attorneys.
Riot agreed to hire a third-party expert to conduct an equity analysis of its employment practices, granted pay transparency, and created a $6 million cash reserve to fund diversity programs, equity and inclusion each of the next three years, among other changes.
In a statement, Riot said the company “was at the heart of what has become a reckoning in our industry” and that it “hasn’t always lived up to our values.”
“While we are proud of how far we have come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past,” he said. “We hope this settlement will properly recognize those who have had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrate our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the gaming industry.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.