Riot Games, which oversees one of the biggest games and esport in the world in League of Legends, is finally talking about how it will address concerns over a culture of sexism at its offices. Earlier this month, Kotaku reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio published an in-depth investigation that looked into how women are treated at the game development company. Now, Riot has published a blog post where it apologizes without qualification and explains how it will address this problem moving forward.
The post checks many of the boxes you expect from a corporate apology. It has been “listening and learning,” and fixing its culture is Riot’s “top priority.” But the studio also had details in addition to platitudes. But it took the time to apologize to its current and former employees and contractors, its fans, its future job candidates, and its partners.
“We’re sorry,” reads the Riot blog post. “We’re sorry that Riot hasn’t always been — or wasn’t — the place we promised you. And we’re sorry it took so long for us to hear you. In the days, weeks, months, years to come, we’re going to make Riot a place we can all be proud of.”
To get to that point, Riot has laid out the “first steps” it is taking to make improvements. Here is what Riot says it is working on:
- Expanding the culture and diversity-and-inclusivity initiative so that it affects every part of Riot’s work.
- Revisiting cultural definitions to reevaluate how Riot uses terms like “gamer” and “meritocracy.”
- Third-party evaluation to bring in external expertise to improve Riot’s culture.
- An improved investigation process with a hotline where anyone can blow a whistle anonymously and “no one and nothing is sacred.”
- Training to expand the understanding of biases and sexism within the workplace.
- Hiring more people to work within the diversity and inclusivity team and on the executive team, including a chief human resources officer and chief diversity officer.
“We are taking everything we’ve learned from Rioters and leading culture-change experts, and we are starting to develop a plan with substance,” reads the Riot post. “Rioters have told us that the steps we have taken thus far aren’t enough, and we agree. The issues we face are serious, and to drive this change, we need to fully understand the root of the issues. This transformation is going to be the source of our future strength as a company. To get there, we need to evolve our culture, while preserving the good things that we think make Riot special.”
As far as public-facing statements, Riot continues to say a lot of the right things. But for many people at the company and observing it from a distance, it will have to execute on these promises the next time someone makes an accusation of sexism or gender discrimination. But executing on that is easier if you are saying the right things, so we can continue to watch Riot and see if things do improve for the people it employs.