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Two Riot employees lose jobs following controversial PAX West session

Two Riot employees lose jobs following controversial PAX West session

Two members of staff at League of Legends maker Riot Games are no longer at the company in the wake of a controversial panel at PAX West.

Systems designer Daniel Z. Klein and communications designer Mattias Lehman have lost their jobs, likely due to their criticism of Riot's working culture.

Following a controversial panel at the PAX West show which featured women and non-binaries exclusively, members of the community and Reddit criticised Riot for being sexist, claiming that the lack of male inclusion was an issue.

Klein responded in a thread on Twitter (below), calling those offended by this "manbabies" - and honestly, fair play to him because the notion that men are oppressed or are not represented in video games is, pardon my French, f*cking absurd.

Sources speaking to Polygon say that Riot asked employees not to engage with the conversation about the panel, with Klein later telling The Verge that he was fired for "violating our social media policy".

Lehman defended Klein over the PAX West controversy, which is likely why he lost his role.

"These departures are independent from our efforts to evolve our culture," Riot Games said in a statement to press.

"Our culture remains our top priority, and we remain committed to taking the steps that we need to become a leader in Diversity & Inclusion. We will always encourage Rioters to share their perspectives, and we fully support efforts by Rioters to further our Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. We are committed to making real, positive change in Riot’s culture and internal advocates are a crucial part of making that happen."

This follows a Kotaku report that described Riot Games' working culture as deeply sexist, with the League of Legends maker since responding and saying it will be overhauling its culture.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.


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