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Riot fires Johnson over George Floyd remarks

Riot fires Johnson over George Floyd remarks

League of Legends and Valorant maker Riot Games has fired its global head of consumer products Ron Johnson over remarks he made about George Floyd.

In a statement, the studio said that the former exec's words were "abhorrent" and went against its values as a company. Johnson said in a Facebook post that Floyd's "criminal lifestyle" played a part in his death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. This incident triggered a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

“Ron Johnson is no longer employed at Riot Games," the company state in a statement.

“The sentiment expressed in the image in question is abhorrent and runs directly counter to our values and our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, something that we’re committed to working toward.

“As we shared last week, Riot is taking thoughtful and deliberate action to help combat racism and injustice in the communities where we work and live. To start, we’re committing $1 million to areas where we know we can make an impact, including justice reform, long-term solutions to address racial bias, and support for local Black-owned businesses. We’re also striving to change the face of our industry and create opportunities, including by investing $10 million in founders underrepresented in the games industry and helping create a future pipeline of underrepresented talent for the gaming and tech world.

“We know there is much work to be done, and we vow to do our part.”

Johnson was hired in January 2020.

Since a damning Kotaku exposé about the company's toxic working culture in 2018, Riot has been trying to paint itself as a company that is changing to be a more tolerant and accepting place. 

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.