August 16, 2018 Riot’s head of creative development details what needs to change in the wake of a massive report on sexism at the company.
Greg Street, now head of creative development at Riot, has made a public show of support for those reporting sexual harassment at the company, along with details on what he plans to do to change things. Most important of all, he says, is listening to women at Riot.
“I am doing a lot of listening to make sure the women on my team and at Riot feel like we hear them, we really understand their point of view, and we understand what they want changed.” Street says his greatest concern is the “chilling effect that can happen if women feel like their ideas are not being heard, or they don’t receive fair pay or opportunities for promotion.”
Street, often known by his screen name ‘Ghostcrawler,’ posted this as a response to a question on Tumblr. Until a handful of days ago, he was the lead designer on League of Legends (and worked on WoW at Blizzard prior to that), but his new position will have him overseeing much more of the studio as Riot builds new games.
“Some of the episodes mentioned that qualify as harassment or worse are horrible and inexcusable,” Street says, “and I would not allow them on my teams. I have fired people for such behavior at Riot and also at Blizzard. It’s a dissatisfying ending to the story because you typically don’t announce why someone is being terminated, and that is particularly true if there is a victim involved that you want to protect. As a leader at Riot, I have to make sure that the rest of the organization doesn’t tolerate it either.”
Street acknowledges that Riot prioritizes hiring League players, and notes that that game’s audience “skews heavily male.” However, he says “We are trying to explore new avenues for how we source potential applicants, and while I think it’s challenging to really be good at game development if you don’t love games, we think there are opportunities there to broaden the kind of folks we interview.”
Last week, Kotaku published an article based on months of research and interviews with dozens of current and former Riot employees alleging a culture of sexism, discrimination, and harassment at the company. Since then, many more people have come forward to back up those reports, and Riot has issued an official statement saying the reported sexual harassment and discrimination “will not stand.”
In the statement obtained by ESPN, Riot says that “this article shines a light on areas where we haven’t lived up to our own values, which will not stand at Riot. We’ve taken action against many of the specific instances in the article, and we’re committed to digging in, addressing every issue, and fixing the underlying causes.”
The statement goes on to say that “all Rioters must be accountable for creating an environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to be heard, grow their role, advance in the organization, and fulfill their potential; and one where open feedback helps us all get better.”
In today’s post, Street concludes “Riot talks a lot more about culture than anywhere I have worked, so perhaps that makes it doubly disappointing that we haven’t been able to deliver. Industry-wide, if not culturally-wide, these issues are not easy to fix, but they are important to fix, and that gives me hope that we won’t give up.”