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June 16, 2021
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Riot Special Committee suggests no action against CEO following investigation

Riot Special Committee suggests no action against CEO following investigation

March 16, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon

March 16, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon
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Following the results of a third-party investigation, the Special Committee created by Riot's board of directors has concluded that no action should be taken against Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent.

According to a multifaceted statement put out by Riot Games today, the Special Committee reached that conclusion after the external investigation found a lack of evidence to back up allegations of harassment, discrimination, and professional retaliation made against Laurent by his former executive assistant Sharon O'Donnell.

The post, found here, collects statements from the board-appointed Special Committee, Riot Games as a company, and Laurent himself.

"In the past, we’ve parted ways with senior leaders when we’ve validated inappropriate or discriminatory behavior. Following the recent allegations of misconduct raised against Riot and our CEO, we were fully prepared to do so again," reads Riot's statement. "The Special Committee of our Board of Directors has concluded that after review of the results of the investigation, and based on everything they know today, there is no evidence that Nicolo harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against Ms. O'Donnell,"

"The Special Committee has also expressed its full confidence in Nicolo’s leadership, that no action against him is warranted, and that he will continue to operate as CEO."

In his own statement, a letter first shared internally with Riot Games Staff, Laurent insists the allegations made against him are false, and that he as well as Riot games is "on a journey of learning and growth." That full statement, as well as the others mentioned, can be found here.

Laurent notably remained at the head of Riot and continued his duties as CEO during the investigation, which officially started in early January when O'Donnell filed a lawsuit alleging a pattern of inappropriate comments, sexual advances, and, eventually, professional retaliation during her three years as Laurent's executive assistant.

While Riot's own investigation has concluded, that lawsuit remains in the legal pipeline. However, as spotted by Launcher today, Riot's internal and now external statements on the matter come the same day as its newly filed push to take O'Donnell's lawsuit out of the court system and into private arbitration.

That move calls back to controversy from Riot's earlier sexual harassment class action lawsuit where people accusing high-ranking Riot Games staff of inappropriate behavior were pressured by a clause in their employment contracts to instead settle the matter privately through arbitration. Despite pushback from Riot staff and those behind the class action lawsuit, that dispute was moved back towards arbitration in January.

Riot, after immense pressure from its staff, eventually ended the practice of mandatory arbitration agreements in its employment contracts for new employees, but continues to uphold those agreements for staff that worked at Riot prior to the change. 



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