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Inside the culture of sexism at Riot Games
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-08-09 19:07:42

Riot Games, founded in 2006, has become one of the biggest companies in gaming on the back of its sole release, League of Legends, which had 100 million monthly players in 2016. With 2,500 employees across 20 offices, Riot is a powerhouse. In 2013, Riot was named one of Business Insider's 25 best tech companies to work for. Two years later, it made $1.6 billion in revenue. Its Los Angeles campus is cushy in the way you'd expect a money-bloated tech company's offices to be. It's got a gym, a coffee shop, a cafeteria with free food, a LAN cafe. Employees often stay late to grind out competitive skill points in League of Legends with their Riot family and are communicating on Slack well into the night. Women who don't fit in with Riot's "bro culture"- a term I heard from over a half dozen sources while reporting this story - say these amenities help make the job bearable for only so long.

Over the course of several months, Kotaku has spoken to 28 current and former Riot employees, many of whom came forward with stories that echo Lacy's. Some of those employees spoke on the record; most spoke anonymously because they feared for their future careers in the games industry or they were concerned that League of Legends' passionate fanbase would retaliate against them for speaking out. Many of those sources painted a picture of Riot as a place where women are treated unfairly, where the company's culture puts female employees at a disadvantage. Other current employees, speaking on the record, disputed that account, with some top female employees telling Kotaku they had not personally experienced gender discrimination at Riot.

A very detailed and well-researched article, with ample room for both sides of the story. It covers the experiences of both women and men with regards to harrassing behaviour, but also relays the experiences of people who never felt any sense of harrasment, while also allowing senior leadership and the company itself to properly respond to the claims made.

To go along with this story, there's the experiences written down by former Riot employee Meagen Marie, which are quite chilling. This retelling is obviously of a lot more personal nature, but it does seem to align with Riot having a deeply sexist culture.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-23
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RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
By kwan_e on 2018-08-10 13:45:17
> You don't see all this outrage about the clothing industry,

Not constant outrage, but you don't think there are women who do hate double standards in women's clothing? One thing I learned in recent years is that many women actually hate the fact that pockets on womens clothing tend to be too small and fake most of the time. They'd actually like pockets they can put stuff in instead of having to carry a handbag around. Or that womens clothes are more expensive than mens, and less durable, forcing them to have to buy more because they wear out quicker. I know many women do just say fuck it to it all and do buy mens clothes instead.

And this highlights the whole problem: just because you don't hear about a problem doesn't mean it isn't a problem, and just because they can work around the problem doesn't mean the problem should persist, lest you hear about it and get tired of it. Because it's all about you, isn't it?

> Lets all complain about it until everyone is bullied into making clothes for everyone so that it doesn't fit anyone well anymore! How is that a solution???

Have you ever bought clothes? Modern clothes literally do not fit anyone well. We're already here. They're all cut for this mythical body shape that only appears on TV and photoshopped images. Even the fact that I, as a really average sized man, can't find clothes that fit me, is due to bad and unrealistic and inconsistent sizing that starts out being foisted on womens clothing, and because it is normalized by half the population, then gets foisted onto mens clothing. Even the most man-centric man incapable and unwilling to seeing things from someone else's perspective should at least realize it all comes back to affect them, whether it is clothing, etc.

Funny how free marketeers are actually against the freedom of people to complain to try and get businesses to cater to real people.
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RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
By galvanash on 2018-08-10 16:26:09
> One thing I learned in recent years is that many women actually hate the fact that pockets on womens clothing tend to be too small and fake most of the time.

Fair enough. Valid complaint. The way to handle that is to ask for clothes with bigger pockets, its not to rage about the existence of clothes with fake pockets (that some people may like) in an effort to force everyone to conform to having bigger pockets...

> And this highlights the whole problem: just because you don't hear about a problem doesn't mean it isn't a problem, and just because they can work around the problem doesn't mean the problem should persist, lest you hear about it and get tired of it. Because it's all about you, isn't it?

Your missing the point. The problem is some demographics are not served well by the gaming industry. That isn't what the SJW crowd complains about anymore (they used to, back when I actually agreed with them, but I don't see much of it anymore). What they complain about now is anything that they find distasteful for one reason or another. I find jean shorts and crocks distasteful, but I don't complain about them, or write articles on the internet raging about them, I simply just don't wear them...

> Funny how free marketeers are actually against the freedom of people to complain to try and get businesses to cater to real people.

I'm perfectly fine with people complaining to try and get businesses to cater to them, what I'm not fine abut is people complaining to try and get businesses to stop catering to others.
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RE: boys?
By DavidCollins on 2018-08-10 17:54:47
It sounds correct. Not malice, just immaturity, failure to consider the wider consequences of actions, acting however gives you quick emotional satisfaction at the time.

You know, the book Microserfs had something vaguely similar. It was more innocent, but basically the author pointed out that the culture of Microsoft seemed based around keeping programmers in a kinda immature state. In his case it was more stuff like nerf guns, but it does raise questions about what maturity actually is, what causes people to mature, and why different people mature at different rates.

Myself, even at a young age I was pretty mature in some respects, but I still had a LOT to learn in others.
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I have several problems with this article
By smashIt on 2018-08-10 19:45:57
First off:
Kotaku runs a hit piece on Riot just as Univision wants to sell Kotaku.
It just stinks of a publicity stunt to get Kotaku back in the public mind.

Second:
There are 3 fundamental problems with this gender/diversity-stuff.
On the one hand women are more risk-averse than men, which results in them starting fewer businesses, or applying for a job at a newly founded company.
Because of this the tone in such companies is set by risk-taking adrenalin loaded men.

On the other hand women always feel disadvantaged.
It's part of their nature and you can see this attitude in many places. (e.g. gender wage gap)
And many times they then try to frame it as sexism. (And yes, I have witnessed this behaviour myself)

Add to that the fact that women are less likely to work long hours, or to work in a high-tech field at all, and you have the perfect sexism shit storm.

2 videos on the differences between men and women I'd recommend are "Equal Contribution" from colttaine:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j...
and a classic: "The gender equality paradox" by Harald Eia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t...
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RE[4]: It's reflected in the community
By Soulbender on 2018-08-12 09:11:35
> How dare I not be in support of a communist utopia where we are all interchangeable plastic dolls with zero differences!

Communism? Who's talking about communism? You clearly don't know what communism is. We're talking about behaviour that is destructive in the work place. But hey, if having non-sexist, non-racist works places is a communist utopia then sign me up.
Your belief in the infallibility of the free market is quite endearing though. Too bad it's a utopia.

> with some trying to label ACTUAL FACTS as "hate speech"

What facts would that be, I wonder.

> to silence people and even imprison them.

Oh really now.

> black woman get a one day ban from Twitter (one of the big three de facto monopolies of social media, along with FB and Google) for "hate speech" for simply taking the racist Korean's tweets and changing the word white to black.

Why would you have a problem with this? The company is just being run in the way they want. That's how it should be, right? Don't you support the freedom for companies to do whatever they want?

Edited 2018-08-12 09:18 UTC
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RE: I have several problems with this article
By Soulbender on 2018-08-12 09:15:55
> On the other hand women always feel disadvantaged.
It's part of their nature


This is a truly amazingly stupid statement.
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RE[2]: I have several problems with this article
By smashIt on 2018-08-12 09:47:34
> This is a truly amazingly stupid statement.

It's just biology, whether you like it or not.

Jordan Peterson said it nicely in one of his lectures:
"The female mind is made for a woman with a child on her arm"

But that’s not the modus operandi for today’s women in the west.
You will find that many behaviour patterns that served our species well in the pre-industrial/pre-global times cause a lot of problems today. (Racism being another one)

> What facts would that be, I wonder.

For example everything regarding gender dimorphism.

Edited 2018-08-12 09:49 UTC
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RE: Comment by kurkosdr
By Ford Prefect on 2018-08-12 11:29:53
Oh cry me a river about how hard it is to learn programming and working in IT.

It is a ton of fun, actually. The 'bros' are not making a sacrifice by working on games.

More often then not it is not the substance of the job but its social context that puts off women from studying computer science and working in IT. The "bro culture" is only a part of it, but saying that it is fine as is because "programming appears to be only for tough guys" won't exactly help, will it?

And I am sorry to burst your bubble, but the stark gender inequality in IT existed long before gender studies were a thing.

Edited 2018-08-12 11:32 UTC
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RE[3]: I have several problems with this article
By Thom_Holwerda on 2018-08-12 12:14:36
> "The female mind is made for a woman with a child on her arm"

Another one who clearly doesn't interact with women, ever.

I feel so sad for you.
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RE[3]: I have several problems with this article
By Soulbender on 2018-08-12 13:15:03
> It's just biology, whether you like it or not.

Jordan Peterson said it nicely in one of his lectures:


Peterson is not a biologist though so he's out of his field here and many actual biologists does not agree with his position.
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