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Riot addresses criticism that its female and non-binary-focused workshops are sexist to men

An exposé was released in August showcasing sexist behaviour within Riot Games, prompting the studio to introduce its “zero tolerance policy” against discrimination. The developer has once again come under fire for claims towards sexism, however, as it recently held sessions dedicated to “support women and non-binary folks” in their effort to attain a career in the video game industry.

It’s a well-known fact that a fraction of positions in the video game industry are held by women, and even less by those identifying as non-binary, resulting in an increasing amount of discussion of how to nurture growth towards a more balanced workforce. Riot Games decided to take to PAX West to introduce two new workshops devoted to helping women and non-binary folks bolster their skills, according to Riot recruiter Mel Capperino-Garcia.

Specifically, sessions between 10am through until 2:30pm included Art + Champions/Skins Design, How to be a Producer, Narrative Writing, Production Careers, Game Design and Advanced Cosplay, not to mention the following Q&A with first-hand developers. Given that men were noticeably omitted from the comprehensive classes, many took to Reddit, Twitter and various other places to express their concern that Riot Games was actually being sexist to men that were chasing a job in the industry.

Riot has tackled the controversy head on, with a statement on its official Twitter reinforcing its stance on the matter. “To help recruit women into gaming, we held PAX workshops for women and non-binary people. We're proud of that and stand with Rioters at PAX. Regarding conversations about this, we need to emphasise that no matter how heated a discussion, we expect Rioters to act with respect.”

This was later expanded upon by Riot systems designer Daniel Z. Klein, who addressed that “men have the power. They're privileged in so many ways, from small invisible things, to large, outrageous things. Men are RIDICULOUSLY over-represented in gaming; they're listened to when women are ignored, promoted when women are passed over, lauded for speaking out when women are being called “difficult to work with.

“So yes, in the interest of justice, equality, and fairness, men need to be excluded sometimes. That's perfectly fine. Trust me, you'll have about a billion other opportunities that these women won't have. But no, you have to be absolute overgrown toddlers and throw hissy fits.”

Klein’s response to the matter has caused outrage in itself with its derogatory tone, going as far as to call those complaining “manbabies.” While this is undoubtedly unsatisfying for those bothered by the matter, Riot Games has been abundantly clear in its efforts, and will likely continue its attempts to balance out the video game industry.

KitGuru Says: It’s worth noting that these efforts do not mean that Riot would sooner choose someone solely based on their gender, forgoing the best person for the role based on their skills. This is just an attempt to give opportunities to those that have never had them before now. How do you feel about Riot’s exclusive workshops?

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