Riot COO Gelb suspended without pay following workplace misconduct investigation

  • Riot COO Gelb suspended without pay following workplace misconduct investigation

Riot COO Gelb suspended without pay following workplace misconduct investigation

No public comment has been given about Gelb's suspension from Riot Games, though it's another misstep in what's been a damning year for Riot, with reports of a toxic and sexist workplace culture being a frequent association with the company this year. "We are prepared to make big changes and have begun taking action against specific cases, including removal of Rioters, though we aren't likely to get into those details publicly on a case-by-case basis for legal and privacy reasons", it read.

Company CEO Nicolo Laurent detailed Gelb's punishment in an email sent to employees, although several feel that two months unpaid leave is an underwhelming response at best, with some suggesting he should have been demoted or fired. "As such, Scott will be going on an unpaid leave of absence for two months, starting at the end of this week".

ESPN subsequently received confirmation of the news from Riot Games. In that same email, Laurent described numerous allegations against Gelb to be "untrue", however evidence would suggest that enough was in fact true to warrant the punishment doled out.

The email and statement don't specify what Riot found to be false or the behaviour Gelb was suspended for, though it was generally described as inappropriate, unprofessional, and unacceptable. And some of these claims were, in fact, substantiated.

"Scott could have avoided owning his past and his consequences", Laurent said in the email. He could have left Riot. "I hope you will join me". "I think it's pretty telling that Riot's commitment to changing their culture only goes as far as firing people who aren't already insulated from the repercussions of that culture", said one, who is anonymous for fear of repercussions.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to concerns about a company backlash, told Kotaku, "For Riot leadership, protecting their very bad friends matters more than protecting their vulnerable employees".

The company was sued last month by one current and one former employee, with charges of sexism and discrimination stemming from the company's internal work culture.

According to Kotaku's report on Gelb's suspension, many Riot employees were unhappy over the short duration of Gelb's suspension and the company's insistence that the accusations against him were untrue.