Developers at Riot Games are planning to walk off the job this afternoon in protest of the company’s attempt at forced arbitration for current employees. Kotaku reports that this will be the first walkout at a major game studio:
Los Angeles-based Riot Games employees are preparing for a walkout this afternoon in protest of the company’s stance on forced arbitration in what appears to be the first walkout at a major gaming studio. Kotaku will be reporting live from the protest as it develops.
“I’m walking out as a symbolic action to signal to leadership that I care about this issue,” said one current employee. “I hope leadership takes the time to seriously listen to the issues.”
Since late last year, five current and former Riot Games employees have filed lawsuits against the League of Legends publisher alleging, among other things, that Riot violated the California Equal Pay Act. The lawsuits referenced an eight-month Kotaku investigation in which dozens of current and former employees reported a culture of widespread and endemic sexism at the company, manifesting in Riot’s hiring practices, promotion strategies, and wider culture.
Riot Games recently filed a motion in court to bar current employees from suing the company over alleged sexist hiring practices and gender discrimination. Today’s walkout, as Kotaku reports, is being organized to show support for the employees affected by the motion.
Shortly after the motion was filed, Rioters organized a walkout which was headed off by a meeting at Riot HQ:
One day later, Riot announced it would give incoming employees the ability to opt out of forced arbitration for harassment suits and consider extending that option to current employees “as soon as current litigation is resolved.” For many employees, that wasn’t enough.
“I think having executives get up for two hours and do the classic, roundabout series of denials helped other Rioters wake up to the fact that this is actually happening here,” one employee said of the meeting. “The impression most Rioters got is that [the executives] do care about it, a bit. They care about being publicly humiliated.”
Kotaku will be reporting on the walkout from the ground later today. The walkout is scheduled for this afternoon in LA, so you should check back later for reports.