Riot Games CEO responds to harassment claims, releases files

Olivia Richman • March 18, 01:46

Riot Games’ CEO Nicolo Laurent gave an official response to sexual harassment and discrimination allegations on Wednesday. In the response, Laurent denied all of Sharon O’Donnell’s claims and questioned her credibility. 

Laurent denied that he made inappropriate comments to O’Donnell, the plaintiff. He claimed that he never made any comments about her appearance, discussed his underwear, or yelled at her, all of which has been alleged. Laurent also stated that he never told O’Donnell to “cum” to his house, noting that this kind of language never appeared in any of the emails or texts exchanged between the two. 

O’Donnell had also claimed that Laurent instructed her to schedule his time so he could avoid his wife. This is something Laurent denied, saying that his “commitment to his family” is known throughout Riot’s office. He also said that he never told O’Donnell that his wife was “jealous of beautiful women.” 

Laurent then denied that he asked O’Donnell to travel with him beyond her duties as an assistant. In fact, he went so far as to state that they always traveled separately and stayed in different hotel rooms. They were never alone together at events, Laurent said, during the few times O’Donnell traveled for Riot. 

Laurent reveals why O’Donnell was fired from Riot Games

The document also went into detail about O’Donnell’s claim that she was fired for complaining about Laurent to HR. Riot argued in the document that there was never any evidence presented in support of O’Donnell’s story. Instead, Riot claimed O’Donnell blackmailed other employees and was guilty of witness tampering. 

Riot also fired O’Donnell because there were multiple complaints against her from various employees. Employees of all genders, Riot said, came to Laurent with concerns about O’Donnell. This included O’Donnell being negative when receiving feedback and not taking responsibility for her actions. She also exhibited “unprofessional behavior and communication.” 

But the biggest thing the document stated that undermined O’Donnell’s credibility is that she never went to HR with her concerns over Laurent. 

“Despite having ample opportunity to do so, Plaintiff never made any allegations about harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or her classification as an exempt employee during the entire course of her employment or after her termination,” Riot explained.

Instead, O’Donnell had only approached HR in 2018 to “intervene on behalf of a male employee being terminated because she was concerned that Riot was too quick to terminate men based on harassment accusations.” If true, this may undermine O’Donnell’s argument that she told HR about harassment and was fired for doing so. 

“While Riot acknowledges that individuals, on isolated bases, have claimed to experience conduct and treatment falling below the standards of professionalism and inclusiveness that Riot has hoped to achieve, Plaintiff is not one of them,” Riot concluded.

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