Former Riot employee sues CEO for sexual harassment
February 9, 2021
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In a case filed in January, former Riot Games employee Sharon O’Donnell alleges that chief executive officer Nicolo Laurent sent her suggestive propositions in text messages. O’Donnell detailed the complaints in her sexual harassment case against the executive in the Superior Court for the State of California in Los Angeles.

O’Donnell claims that Laurent told her to “cum” to his house while his wife was traveling. He also mentioned that his wife was jealous of “beautiful women” as well as the size of his underpants. The complaint goes on to describe more of O’Donnell’s claims regarding Laurent’s “pattern of harassing [O’Donnell] based on her sex or gender.”

The former Riot employee says Laurent told her to be more feminine and that women could handle COVID 19-related stress by having children. The complaint says that Laurent talked about liking tight-fitting underwear. He also, allegedly, asked O’Donnell if she could “handle him when they were alone at his house.”

O’Donnell’s lawsuit says that she refused to go over to Laurent’s home when he asked. She also claims she was punished for this. Riot fired O’Donnell in July 2020.

GamesBeat has reached out to Riot for comment, but the developer provided a statement to Vice Games:

“In this case, because some of the claims relate to an executive leader, a special committee of our Board of Directors is overseeing the investigation, which is being conducted by an outside law firm. Our CEO has pledged his full cooperation and support during this process, and we’re committed to ensuring that all claims are thoroughly explored and appropriately resolved.”

“One subject we can address immediately is the plaintiff’s claim about their separation from Riot. The plaintiff was dismissed from the company over seven months ago based on multiple well-documented complaints from a variety of people,” the spokesperson added. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

Discrimination and sexual harassment are not new claims when it comes to Riot. The company settled a gender-discrimination lawsuit in 2019 for $10 million. Earlier that year, employees walked out in protest of Riot forcing lawsuits into private arbitration. And the company had to hire a chief diversity officer in response to previous claims of discrimination related to its boys-club reputation.

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