Olivia R. November 13, 2020
A woman named Stephanie is claiming the newest League of Legends champion, Seraphine, is based on her and that she might take legal action against Riot.
According to Stephanie, a Riot employee she briefly dated in 2019 decided to use her appearance and personality to create the the character who was recently prominently featured alongside virtual band K/DA. Riot has denied the allegation, saying that Seraphine was "independently created by Riot Games and was not based on any individual." The game developer also noted that the employee Stephanie dated left Riot more than a year ago and has "no input whatsoever into the creative design process."
Despite Riot's claims, Stephanie stated in a Medium post that she is seriously considering legal action.
"I’ve felt really grossed-out about it, to the point that I can’t play one of my favorite video games. Besides that, it’s been kind of horrid to have a League champion who looks like you, has so many of your characteristics, and has a name that’s almost identical to yours," Stephanie said.
She noted that there's NSFW art of Seraphine being shared constantly as well as people arguing daily about how Seraphine doesn't fit into the game's lore or style. Stephanie has also been uncomfortable with how similar Seraphine's drawings have been to her own shared artwork and the similarities between photos with her cat and drawings of the champion with her own pets.
"The short version is that a lot of details about Seraphine line up very closely with facts about myself: her name, her drawings, her cat, a lot of her pictures, her hair color, her eye color, her face shape, and even where she’s from," Stephanie wrote.
Is League of Legends champion Seraphine based on Stephanie?
During a short relationship with the unnamed Riot employee, Stephanie claims that he would often bring up ideas for Ahri skins based on her likeness. The employee also said that certain jokes Stephanie made while they played League of Legends should be put in the game. The former Riot employee also told Stephanie she should fly to Los Angeles to do voice acting for a "secret project."
Stephanie ended up meeting up with the employee again and received a tour of Riot's campus.
"Another strange circumstance was when he gave me some gifts of posters and custom art of me as K/DA Ahri, which he told me Riot illustrators drew based on what he told/showed them about me. While I don’t blame the artists at all, I’m sure their intentions were pure, it was strange for how short of a time I’d known him," Stephanie recalled.
Stephanie then claimed that the Riot employee told her he had a surprise for her on September 19. She then noticed a tweet from the same date on Seraphine's Twitter account, which said that was the date she had started working with K/DA. As she began to scroll through the Twitter account, Stephanie noticed numerous similarities between herself and the content surrounding Seraphine.
Instead of focusing on the former Riot employee, Stephanie stated that she's turned her attention to Riot itself.
"Why? If she really is based off me, Riot could be inappropriately profiting off of my likeness. And that sucks. But on a wider level, Riot is already kind of unfairly profiting off of every single person who feels some kind of attachment to her, consciously or not, because she’s a 'person,'" Stephanie explained.
No matter what Stephanie's intentions may truly be, her story has not impressed the League of Legends community. Many of the comments on her Medium felt that she was self-absorbed and that being an "awkward e-girl" is a stereotype that she doesn't own. Still, many others came to support Stephanie, saying that the coincidences were "creepy" and they can understand why she is uncomfortable.