Earlier this week, we learned that employees at Riot Games were planning a mass walkout due to growing issues with company management. At the time, it was estimated that around 100 employees would leave work to protest but the final number ended up being much higher than that.
Over the last year, there has been a lot of talk surrounding Riot Games and its internal practices. Allegations of sexism came to light in 2018 and at this point in time, there are five on-going lawsuits against Riot Games for breaching the California Equal Pay Act. Riot attempted to block two of these lawsuits citing a clause in employee contracts that waives their right to sue. Riot has responded by outlining a new set of company values and hiring a Chief Diversity Officer but workers at the studio still feel like nothing is really changing.
As reported by the LA Times, more than 200 workers at Riot Games walked out of the Los Angeles office yesterday to protest the blocking of two equal pay lawsuits. Dylan Buck, one of the walkout organisers and a writer for Riot, told the LA Times that they “stand with the current plaintiffs”. Outside of Riot’s HQ, staffers were seen holding up protest signs and a megaphone was being passed around to anyone who had something they would like to say.
There will be an ‘all hands’ meeting at Riot on the 16th of May, at which point, protest organisers hope company leadership will have a satisfactory response prepared. In the meantime, Riot has said that it “respects the decision” of those who chose to protest and won’t be handing out any punishments.
KitGuru Says: This is the first time we’ve seen a protest like this occur at a major games studio. Depending on the discussions that follow, this could end up having a major effect on the rest of the industry, whether it is through developer unionisation or empowering workers to stand up for their rights.