UPDATE NOVEMBER 12th, 2018:
Riot Games has confirmed with MCV that Frances Frei was appointed in August 2018, predating the recent lawsuit.
Riot Games has taken on former Uber and Harvard Business School professor, Frances Frei, to support its internal equality, diversity, and inclusion efforts.
As reported by Polygon, the appointment of Frei as a senior advisor comes just days after one current and one former Riot Games employee filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging the publisher of a "sexually-hostile working environment" that has stifled their pay and career prospects because they are women.
The lawsuit asserts Riot has violated California’s Equal Pay Act and permitted gender-based discrimination in the workplace. The complaint further alleges “like many of Riot Games’ female employees […] Plaintiffs have also seen their working conditions negatively impacted because of the ongoing sexual harassment, misconduct, and bias which predominate the sexually-hostile working environment of Riot Games".
Riot has brought on an external law firm to independently assess its equality practices and policies, as well as promising to make more changes to senior staff, including a new Chief Human Resources Officer and a Chief Diversity Officer. Frei has already been meeting with key members of Riot’s senior team, including the co-founders, CEO, and president.
Kotaku’s original investigation into Riot took contributions from dozens of members of Riot staff both past and present. While not all female employees have experienced issues, it painted a picture of a studio with a systemic culture of sexism, prompting a formal apology from Riot. A pledge by Riot went on to list seven steps the company is taking to ensure it is a workplace that is safe and welcoming for any and all employees or contractors, including establishing a new team for Riot’s Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, training employees, and setting up an anonymous hotline for complaints and investigations.
"Our goal isn’t just to be good; it’s to become a leader on diversity, inclusion, and culture. We’re asking them to develop mechanisms to measure our progress and hold us accountable against this objective," Riot’s pledge asserted.