Riot Games Hires Chief Diversity Officer Amidst Scandal

Riot Games Hires Chief Diversity Officer Amidst 'Bro Culture' Scandal
Credit: League of Legends/Riot Games.

It was only six months ago that Kotaku released a report highlighting the culture at Riot Games; the result determined that there was an extensive ‘bro culture’ at the studio with very little in the way of diversity and inclusivity. It was also noted that there was a significant amount of sexism in the offices. Now, however, it looks as though the studio is aiming to try fix its reputation with some new changes geared toward diversity. In a new statement, the company has announced the hiring of Dropbox’s Angela Roseboro as the League of Legends developers’ Chief Diversity Officer.

According to a variety of reports, it will be Ms. Roseboro’s position to see overall inclusivity and diversity efforts; she will also oversee the creating of programs aimed at encouraging a more inclusive culture.  According to the report by Kotaku, it seems as though this is something that’s desperately needed; one of the more notable things was the host of reasons why women shouldn’t be hired in leadership roles. While it should be noted that there was no policy against women in leadership roles at the company, many employees highlighted how there were often reasons why women weren’t promoted; it was also claimed that these excuses were rarely, if ever, used for men.

Many employees at the company also shared experiences of how they were often degraded because of their apperance; some even highlighted how some in the company believed they only got their position because of their appearance. Another example highlighted by Kotaku: After an idea a (relatively) high-ranking woman really believed in fell flat during a meeting, she asked a male colleague to present the same idea to the same group of people days later. He was skeptical, but she insisted that he give it a shot. As it was noted, the idea was loved by everyone in the meeting. As the woman, Lacy, noted:

Lo and behold, the week after that, [he] went in, presented exactly as I did and the whole room was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing.’ [His] face turned beet red and he had tears in his eyes. They just didn’t respect women.

With the hiring of Angela Roseboro as Chief Diversity Officer, it looks as though Riot Games has officially entered into damage control. The studio has also published an update as to what moves they’ve been making over the past few months to increase diversity in the studio. Currently, it looks as though the company has spent the last six months planning. These programs and efforts are set to begin in the next few months. However, it should be noted that they’ve brought in several outside parties to help evaluate how Riot Games can improve.

Furthermore, Riot Games has also said that they’ve investigated and acted on several new claims of sexism. Reports suggest that several people have been let go from the company because of these claims. Speaking about being hired by the company, Ms. Roseboro said:

I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible Rioters who are passionate about creating a culture where everyone thrives together. I was so taken by the heart and soul of this company and—in spite of setbacks or hurdles—I’m excited to be part of this journey. 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.

Riot Games has been somewhat of a powerhouse over the past few years; being founded in 2006, the studio hit success with League of Legends. Since then, the company was named one of the best gaming companies to work for; it also boasts 2,500 employees across 20 offices. Reports also suggest that the company has billions in yearly revenue. In 2013 alone, the company reportedly made $1.6 billion. For her part, Angela Roseboro held a similar position with Dropbox. While with the tech giant, she served as Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.