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Riot Games hires a chief diversity officer to address toxic workplace culture

Riot Games hires a chief diversity officer to address toxic workplace culture


Angela Roseboro, formerly of Dropbox, is the company’s first diversity chief

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Image: Riot Games

League of Legends developer Riot Games has hired a chief diversity officer to help fix issues surrounding its sexist and toxic workplace culture, spotlighted first by an in-depth Kotaku investigation last August that has left the company reeling in the months since. Now, Angela Roseboro, who was formerly the global diversity and inclusion head at Dropbox, has been tasked with creating diversity programming at Riot.

Riot confirmed the hire to The Verge, but did not immediately provide a comment on Roseboro’s hiring. In a statement in Riot’s blog post, Roseboro said, “I can’t wait to get started and to do my part to make sure we have a culture that embraces the uniqueness of every Rioter and a community where everyone feels a sense of belonging.”

The hire comes half a year after Riot first publicly responded to the Kotaku report, with a blog post post titled “Our First Steps Forward.” In it, company leadership acknowledged the allegations of sexism and dysfunctional workplace practices and behaviors, apologized, and pledged to thoroughly reinvent its culture and institute new policies and tools to combat abuse. “We’re sorry. We’re sorry that Riot hasn’t always been—or wasn’t—the place we promised you,” the post read.

Riot reportedly preferred hiring men over women and referred to them as “core gamers”

Riot’s detailed next steps then included expanding its diversity team; making sure words like “gamer” aren’t misused with sexist connotations during hiring and in internal meetings; hiring outside consultants to audit the company’s practices; setting up an anonymous hotline; and expanding staff training. One of the steps also included initiating the search for a proper chief diversity officer. Riot updated the post last month saying it had polled 1,700 employees to figure out where the company should go from there.

Still, the fallout from the company’s bad practices has been severe. Last November, one current and one former employee sued Riot Games in a class-action lawsuit for gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay. It elaborated on the conditions first reported by Kotaku, saying Riot had unfair hiring practices that favored men and allowed a culture where men could make lewd jokes without reprisal. It even described Chief Operating Officer Scott Gelb as having farted on and touched the genitals of fellow employees, considering the actions a joke.

In December, Gelb was suspended without pay for two months following those accusations. The decision to keep him within the company infuriated many Riot employees, with one describing the move to Kotaku as a light slap on the wrist. This month marks his return — and the timing coincides with the announcement of Roseboro’s hiring.