After reviewing the evidence of a third-party investigation by an external law firm, Riot Games has ruled that it won’t be issuing any sanctions against its CEO, Nicolo Laurent, following allegations from an employee earlier this year.
The allegations of misconduct were levelled against Laurent in an active lawsuit by former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell in January of this year. In court documents, O’Donnell alleged Laurent was responsible for improper conduct in the workplace. With these allegations drawing attention from the media, Riot drafted in a law firm to conduct an investigation into these allegations.
A Riot Games special committee – which comprises of one Riot board member and two executives from Riot’s parent company, Tencent – says it has now “assessed whether there was factual support for any of the misconduct alleged by the plaintiff,” according to a statement released by Riot. It also “looked at whether the pattern of interaction between Laurent and the plaintiff could have been interpreted as harassing, discriminatory, or retaliatory.”
After reviewing the law firm’s findings, the special committee concluded there is “no evidence that Laurent harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against the plaintiff.”
With the special committee giving its ruling, Laurent has now also strongly denied the original allegations. This denial was first sent in an internal email obtained by The Washington Post, but this was later published on Riot’s official website as part of the overall statement on the matter.
“The allegations of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation involving me are not true. Nothing of that nature, or even remotely close to it, ever happened,” he says in the letter.
Laurent also states that Riot is “exploring legal options, given that I believe the lawsuit is based on false information and brought forth for the wrong reasons.”
The Washington Post also reports that, following the special committee’s decision, Riot has requested that the court case around O’Donnell’s allegations be sped up.
While Riot’s CEO will face no sanctions, the controversy surrounding the case has already caused damage to the company. Just yesterday, Alienware, one of Riot’s biggest partners and a sponsor of all of its major League of Legends competitions, reportedly terminated its sponsorship deal with the company ten months early over the misconduct allegations.