Riot Games have publicly refuted claims from an artist and ex-girlfriend of an employee, who claims League of Legends’ Seraphine is based on her. Citing troubling similarities between herself and Seraphine, accusations and potential legal action were levied before Riot’s response.
Seraphine, League’s latest controversial character, is a pink-haired musical artist with glasses, a cat, and a tendency to draw herself in whimsical ways. Stephanie, a girl with close ties to Riot, is a pink-haired artist with glasses, a cat, and a tendency to draw herself in whimsical ways.
The similarities between Stephanie and Seraphine extend much deeper than the closeness of their names and, although there are tons of quirky e-girls with pink hair and Instagram art profiles, this situation is oarticularly intriguing.
At its basis, Stephanie’s discomfort stems from the fact that her ex-boyfriend worked at Riot and made numerous indications that he’d like to use her as inspiration for League’s champions or skins. Still, Riot has denied that any of those conversations, and current Seraphine content, constitute legitimate evidence.
— Tim Rizzo (@TimRizzo) November 12, 2020
In a thorough Medium article, Stephanie makes her claims that Serapine is based on her. While inconclusive, she does a strong job of qualifying her ex’s uncomfortable messaging about using her as a muse and of showing similarities between herself and Seraphine.
In sum, she states that “this whole situation has been really violating” with the qualification that this “may be just another way a giant videogame company has screwed over a woman without a second thought — and massively profited off it.”
Since pink hair and glasses are by no means undeniably unique character traits in 2020, the more interesting content raised includes similarities between Seraphine and Stephanie’s self portraits. Both go black and white, with minimalist noses and eyes, underneath pink hair. But, more damning would be the ex’s messages.
Stephanie shares communications between her and her short-lived ex, suggesting that he intended to use her as a muse for different iterations of LoL characters. Some of those troubling signs included sharing her writing internally, gifting her Riot art of herself “as K/DA Ahri,” and the idea of “an ‘e-girl’ or ‘awkward’ skin for Ahri … that he implied was inspired” by Stephanie.
Ultimately, Riot have shut this issue down and stated that the results of their investigation conclude that Seraphine “was not based on any individual.” Further, they explained that Stephanie’s ex “left Riot more than a year ago and was in a department and role that has no input whatsoever into the creative design process.”
The possibility of this bizarre situation going to courts is, like migrating birds, still up in the air. But, with Riot indicating that their response has been ignored by Stephanie’s attorney, it’s entirely unclear what will happen.