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Gaming • Dec 14, 2018

Riot Games COO suspended without pay following sexual harassment and misconduct investigation

Riot Games COO suspended without pay following sexual harassment and misconduct investigation
Riot Games

Riot Games has informed its employees that company COO Scott Gelb has been suspended without pay for two months following multiple allegations of misconduct, according to reports. 

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This news comes after a Kotaku report sparked an internal investigation into employee harassment and misconduct, with Gelb being accused of flicking people's testicles, as well as humping them - trying to pass it off as comedy.

On December 13, Riot Games released the following statement:

“As part of our ongoing commitment to evolving our culture, we are thoroughly investigating all claims through our established process. Per this process, outside legal counsel undertook an investigation of allegations about Scott Gelb.

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"After carefully reviewing and considering the findings, the Special Committee of Riot’s Board of Directors determined that a two-month, unpaid leave of absence, along with training, was the appropriate action given the allegations that were substantiated. 

"We can also confirm that many of the rumors circulating about Scott within the company, the media, and other channels were actually not true."

Riot Games HQ in Los Angeles.

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The company is made up of 2,500 employees, 80 percent of those being male. According to Kotaku, Riot has a history of both sexual misconduct and dismissing qualified women for promotions within the company.

In an email sent to employees this week, Riot's CEO Nicolo Laurent revealed that the company pursue a private approach during their own internal investigation process, but have made a "rare exception" with their COO.

He said: "We made a very rare exception in the case of our COO, Scott Gelb. There are factors that collectively drive this exception. The Special Committee of the Board of Directors has specifically requested that one of Scott’s consequences be highly visible. 

"Scott holds one of the most senior roles at Riot and is held to a higher level of accountability and visibility, therefore certain consequences are going to be very visible to Rioters."

Gelb's punishment, however, has been labelled a "tiny slap on the wrist" by a current employee who spoke to Kotaku. 

Another anonymous source said: “For Riot leadership, protecting their awful friends matters more than protecting their vulnerable employees. And that isn’t going to change unless the workers do something about it directly.” 

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