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Game Over for Riot

By David Ren

Gank, Gromp, Ghost, Guardian…Gender discrimination?

The first domino fell after Kotaku, a video game blog, published an article discussing the culture of sexism within Riot Games. Shortly after, a lawsuit filed in November 2018 by former-employees Melanie McCracken and Jess Negrón accused the company of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and misconduct. This case was seen in court in 2019, where Riot Games agreed to a $10 million settlement. However, two California employment agencies, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement blocked the settlement, arguing that Riot’s amount was not sufficient. After this, Riot Games compromised to a $100 million settlement deal where $80 million was paid to the settlement class and $20 million was paid in legal fees. This case may suddenly come as a shock to many fans of Riot Games’ “Arcane,” which attempted to branch the League of Legends universe into a more mainstream audience, praised for its multi-dimensional female characters.

Source by Tina Torre

Gamers are disappointed in Riot Games for their actions regarding gender discrimination.

“I am incredibly disappointed in Riot Games. Although the settlement will allow these women to gain some well deserved compensation, it will not take away the years of harassment and prejudice that they had to face. I hope that Riot Games can change and do better in the future,” junior Isabella Prada, a viewer of "Arcane," said.

This settlement is unprecedented in a way, as it is the first true time where sexual discrimination against women within the gaming industry has been acknowledged on a legal basis. Riot Games released a statement expressing their hope for change, stating, “We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry.” However, these concerns of sexism are not just within Riot Games’ administration, but also throughout its subsidiaries. In a research paper done by Carvalho and Cavelli titled “Sexism and League of Legends,” they found that the game’s female champions were intrinsically designed with unrealistic body proportions and clothing choices, objectifying them and subjecting women to unrealistic standards. Sexism and misogyny even pervade into the playerbases.

“While playing in high elo Valorant matches, I have experienced and witnessed many sexist remarks which eventually lead to low team morale. I hope Riot and other game developers find ways to address these topics,” senior Jason Pun, an avid Valorant player, said.


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