Two Riot Employees Leave After Publicly Defending Controversial PAX West Event

Riot Games Has Weathered Several Controversies Recently

Two Riot Games employees are no longer with the game developer after they publicly defended a controversial PAX West event on Twitter. The League of Legends developer has recently come under fire following an extensive Kotaku investigative report that exposed the developer’s sexist & misogynist workplace culture.

The aforementioned PAX West event was created by Riot Games and focused on women & non-binary people. However, it excluded those who belonged to neither group. This resulted in many gamers criticizing Riot Games by calling them sexist for creating such an event.

One of the two former employees, systems designer Daniel Klein, defended the event and had called some of these critics “manbabies“.

The other former employee, communications associate Mattias Lehman, backed up Klein, tweeting that, “Being an ally means listening to, learning from, and standing up with marginalized people. [Klein] has done that in the years I’ve known and worked with him It’s telling when people spend more time tone policing him than calling out those harassing and threatening him.”

league of legends cover

Though Riot Games hasn’t officially given a reason for why these two were fired, sources told Kotaku that the pair had disobeyed a company order given to some employees regarding publicly speaking about the controversy surrounding the PAX West event.

Klein told The Verge on Friday that he was fired for “violating our social media policy.” It isn’t currently known if Lehman quit or was fired but he did tweet this message on Friday: “It’s been a long day. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. I love you all for your support, and I apologize for all the messages I’ve left on read. I’ll follow up and say more soon.”

In response to these recent developments, Riot Games told The Verge in a statement that the Klein & Lehman situation had nothing to do with the developer’s efforts to improve their workplace culture and said that they remained “committed to taking the steps that we need to become a leader in Diversity & Inclusion.”

“We will always encourage Rioters to share their perspectives, and we fully support efforts by Rioters to further our Diversity & Inclusion initiatives,” their statement continued. “We are committed to making real, positive change in Riot’s culture and internal advocates are a crucial part of making that happen.”

Sources: Kotaku, The Verge