After an exposé in Kotaku allegedly exposing rampant sexism at Riot Games, the game developer behind the popular MOBA League of Legends, a recruiter for the company openly expressed a sexist policy while discussing Riot panels at the PAX West convention.

In an attempt to change their image for what appears to be the writers at Kotaku, Riot announced they would have a “variety of sessions to support women and non-binary folks who are interested in getting into games professionally.”

These sessions would focus on Art and Champions design, How to be a Producer, Narrative Writing, Production Careers, Game Design, Advanced Cosplay, and even a 1-on-1 resume review and feedback session.

One user Raharu questioned whether or not men would be allowed to join the sessions:

“Are the game development and career presentations exclusive to women and non-binary folks? I am deeply interested in the subject matter and meeting Rioters is always fun, but I am neither a woman or non-binary. Am I still welcome to check these events out?”

Raharu

Riot recruiter Mel Capperino-Garcia who uses the handle RiotSwimbananas outed himself and the company as sexist against men in his response:

The first two events of room 613 will be only open to women and nonbinary folks.(there might be some exceptions. I will try and post on Twitter the sechedule everyday) However, all the activities of the room will be open to all after 3pm, including the “Ask a Rito” time. 😀

Riot

If you happened to be born with the wrong combination of chromosomes Riot Games made it clear that they didn’t want you. According to them the sessions were only be available to “women and non-binary folk.”

After Riot Games was openly criticized on the League of Legends subreddit, Systems Designer Daniel Z. Klein weighed in claiming that discriminating against men isn’t sexism (Archive: https://archive.fo/HyXfH). But he wouldn’t stop there he decided to insult his own player base using Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s insult of “manbabies.”

First thing is first. Daniel’s interpretation of what sexism and racism are wrong. Because he depends on the addition of the idea of power to make his argument to work. He uses a sociological definition of racism and sexism which adds so-called “systemic power.” The real definition has none of that.  Next, he is way off when it comes to discrimination.

According to the California Civil Code in regards to personal rights, section 51 (a) it states:

“All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”

Now, why is California important? Because Riot Games is located within the Golden State and is subject to their extensive laws against discrimination against persons based on their gender.

Some might point to PAX being located in Seattle, Washington thus out of the jurisdiction of California. That’s true, but Washington has its own anti-discrimination laws on the books. In RCW title 49, chapter 60 section 0.30, the law makes a clear case of what it considers discrimination and wherein the private and public sphere it could be identified:

“The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability is recognized as and declared to be a civil right. This right shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) The right to obtain and hold employment without discrimination;
(b) The right to the full enjoyment of any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement; […]”

With that said, PAX West would be considered an “accommodation” or even assemblage according to RCW title 49, chapter 60 section 0.40. Which states:

“Any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement” includes, but is not limited to, any place, licensed or unlicensed, kept for gain, hire, or reward, or where charges are made for admission, service, occupancy, or use of any property or facilities, whether conducted for the entertainment, housing, or lodging of transient guests, or for the benefit, use, or accommodation of those seeking health, recreation, or rest, or for the burial or other disposition of human remains, or for the sale of goods, merchandise, services, or personal property, or for the rendering of personal services, or for public conveyance or transportation on land, water, or in the air, including the stations and terminals thereof and the garaging of vehicles, or where food or beverages of any kind are sold for consumption on the premises, or where public amusement, entertainment, sports, or recreation of any kind is offered with or without charge, or where medical service or care is made available, or where the public gathers, congregates, or assembles for amusement, recreation, or public purposes, or public halls, public elevators, and public washrooms of buildings and structures occupied by two or more tenants, or by the owner and one or more tenants, or any public library or educational institution, or schools of special instruction, or nursery schools, or day care centers or children’s camps […]”

While Riot Games had only been accused of sexism of Kotaku, they have actually enacted it in response to the Kotaku article by banning men of all races from certain panels and sessions that could have helped them get gainful employment. And by doing this, they are very likely in violation of both Washington State and California laws against gender discrimination.

Fans on Twitter tried to explain why Riot is wrong in their approach to expanded employment opportunities to minorities:

As it stands, it seems that Riot, in their rush to address the issue of sexism and a toxic work environment just decided to become sexist to another group of people. To complicate matters, even more, their own employees are finding it easier to mock concerned fans than look towards their own corporate culture that might be a contributing factor to their issues with workplace harassment.

If they’re not careful, Riot might learn an expensive lesson, one that big studios are learning the hard way. We already saw Disney and Lucasfilm’s Solo: A Star Wars Story completely bomb at the box office after Rian Johnson, Chuck Wendig, and a number of other Star Wars directors and creators decided to insult fans. And more recently EA is learning a hard economics lesson after their former senior staff mocked fans and told them not to buy the upcoming Battlefield V video game. As the saying goes, “Get woke. Go broke.”

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About The Author

Jorge Arenas
Resident Star Trek Specialist/ Writer

Jorge Arenas is a Governmental Affairs Director working in the Southwest. If Starfleet were real his career would be in a much different place. Currently, he specializes in all things Star Trek. He loves DC but has a soft spot for Deadpool. When not writing you can find him on World of Warcraft. Battle.net, ID-PassStage6#1707

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