Photo: Riot Games

Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, is expected to pay up $10 Million to settle a 2018 gender discrimination suit. Two women plaintiffs cited “bro culture” and multiple forms of sexual harassment were rampant at the game company.

According to court documents filed on Monday, the two parties reached a settlement agreement on November 20, 2019. As a result, female employees of Riot Games that worked from November 2014 until the final settlement date could see anywhere between $500 and $5,000 in restitution. Payments will depend on how long they’ve been at the company and if they are contractor or fully employed by Riot. Two plaintiffs, Gabriella Downie and Jessica Negron were awarded $10,000 as they brought forth “causes of action for violations of the Equal Pay Act”. The ruling will see around 1,000 women receive payments from the suit.

Riot Games initially came under fire in August of 2018 after an explosive piece from Cecilia D’Anastasio of Kotaku exposing a myriad of gender related issues within Riot. The expose included claims that women were passed up for promotions, fired for refusing the (sexual) advances of company superiors and even an instance of a higher-up “farting on someone’s face”.

Riot employees also walked out in May of 2019 after plaintiffs of the November 2018 suit were forced into arbitration with the company.

Norris’ Sobering Opinion: While this may seem like a step in the right direction I can help but feel conflicted. When reading these stories I felt disgusted but not at all shocked by the actions of some of these men. “Bro Culture” is real, “Toxic Masculinity” is real, and these stories are real. And it happens in a lot more places that just Riot Games. So while I’m happy that the settlement puts an end to this particular case, we won’t know what lasting effects any of Riot’s internal efforts have had for a while. But reports saying some of the belligerents alluded to in the articles still being employed by Riot is NOT the way to move forward. I just hope $10 Million is enough cash to make a game dev think twice before grabbing someone else’s genitals.