Updated Dec 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Riot Games agrees to pay $100M in gender discrimination lawsuit

 The Riot Games logo is displayed on the big screen before the League of Legends World Championship gets underway at the LEC Studio on October 3, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.
A Riot Games event in 2019 in Berlin. Photo: Wojciech Wandzel/Riot Games Inc. via Getty Images

Riot Games has agreed to settle a 2018 gender discrimination lawsuit for $100 million, the "League of Legends" giant and California agencies announced Monday evening.

By the numbers: Under the agreement, $80 million would be set aside for hundreds of women who are current and former employees in the California class-action lawsuit, according to statements by both parties.

  • An additional $20 million would go toward plaintiffs' legal fees.

Driving the news: Riot was accused of "systemic sex discrimination and harassment" and discrimination against women in hiring, assignments, and promotions," according to a statement from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), one of the parties involved in the suit.

  • The payment will resolve the suit, and all claims will be made to a settlement fund before being distributed, pending court approval.

Why it matters: The announcement comes at a time of intense scrutiny for the video game industry, with the DFEH involved in another anti-discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.

Flashback: Riot tried to settle the lawsuit in 2019 for $10 million, but the DFEH blocked the move as it sought more compensation.

What they're saying: Genie Harrison, the plaintiffs' counsel, said in an emailed statement the agreement marked "a great day for the women of Riot Games — and for women at all video game and tech companies — who deserve a workplace that is free of harassment and discrimination."

  • DFEH director Kevin Kish said in the agency's statement that if approved by the court, the decree will "send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment."

The other side: Riot said in an emailed statement that the company three years ago was "at the heart of what became a reckoning in our industry."

  • "While we're proud of how far we've come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past," the statement added.
  • "We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Genie Harrison.

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