Employees at League of Legends developer Riot Games are planning to organize a walkout, in response to the news that the company was going to block several employees from filing a lawsuit against it for alleged gender discrimination and sexist work environment.
Speaking to Waypoint, anonymous sources from within the company (from those who are planning the walkabout) said that “talk of a walkout has been brewing among a number of folks with varying levels of investment since Kotaku’s first article hit” and that “leadership consistently promised transparency/actions to be taken and then did not deliver on that promise.”
The walkout was planned for 6 May 2019, which some Riot employees claim have been in the works for months. The one act that drove them to finally go ahead with the walkout was Riot Games forcing employees to go through an arbitration process instead of going to court for a jury trial like most lawsuits do.
Another act that drove Riot employees to organize a walkout is that the company continues to employ several of the men accused with sexual harassment charges or inappropriate behavior, including Riot COO Scott Gelb.
According to Kotaku, several of the Riot employees are unable to confirm how many or how large the walkout gathering will be. Some are resistant to join the walkout since doing so comes with a high risk of getting fired from their jobs.
It remains to be seen if the walkout will be going ahead as planned. After the first reports of sexual harassment came out, Riot Games already apologized and promised to change their hiring practices but it seems like nothing changed at all.
Big corporations like Riot Games think they can get away from being held responsible by strong-arming their employees and forcing them to stay silent. Earlier this year, a former Blizzard employee revealed years of racial abuse and discrimination within the company, and the company did what Riot did, by promising to change for the better.
Cases like this and the massive layoffs at major companies in the games industry just goes to show how important it is that the games industry get unionized as soon as possible. It’s needed to ensure that the rights of individual game developers remain protected and to avoid any more events like this from happening in the future.