Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent is being sued for sexual harassment by a former executive assistant who alleges she was fired from her job for refusing his advances. Riot Games have said they are investigating the claims and have hired an external law firm to lead the investigation.
The legal complaint was brought by former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell, who was fired from Riot Games in July 2020. As reported by Vice, the suit alleges that Laurent asked O’Donnell to “‘cum’ over to his house while his wife was away”, asked her to travel with him outside of work, and told her to be more feminine and to watch her tone.
O’Donnell’s suit says that she complained about Laurent’s behaviour to Riot Games’ HR department, and alleges that her termination related to those complaints.
In a statement, Riot Games said they were investigating the allegations.
“Core to giving Rioters confidence in our commitment to culture transformation is taking all allegations of harassment or discrimination very seriously, thoroughly investigating claims and taking action against anyone who is found to have violated our policies. In this case, because some of the claims relate to an executive leader, a special committee of our Board of Directors is overseeing the investigation, which is being conducted by an outside law firm.
“Our CEO has pledged his full cooperation and support during this process, and we’re committed to ensuring that all claims are thoroughly explored and appropriately resolved.”
Riot Games denied that O’Donnell’s firing related to her complaints to HR about Laurent. “One subject we can address immediately is the plaintiff’s claim about their separation from Riot. The plaintiff was dismissed from the company over seven months ago based on multiple well-documented complaints from a variety of people. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
O’Donnell’s complaint also alleges that she was not paid for all the hours she worked, including overtime, and was not given meal breaks. If true, the suit claims this would be a violation of “the California Labor Code and the applicable wage orders”.
Riot Games have been accused by several current and former employees of a culture of sexism, particularly in an in-depth Kotaku report in 2018. In 2019, they settled a lawsuit brought on behalf of the company’s female employees, though they remain embroiled in related legal proceedings even now. In 2020, they fired an executive for sharing a racist Facebook post.
Riot Games told Vice that Laurent continues to work as normal while the investigation is ongoing. You can read the full complaint at the bottom of their story.