Riot COO Gelb suspended without pay following workplace misconduct investigation

Riot COO Gelb suspended without pay following workplace misconduct investigation

The aftershocks of Riot's toxic working culture rumble on with COO Scott Gelb apparently being suspended without pay for two months.

Kotaku reports that an email from CEO Nicolo Laurent was sent around the company, saying that this was punishment for sexual and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace that emerged as part of an internal investigation.

Offensive behaviour includes, um, touching employees' testicles or butts, or farting in their faces.


The site also reports that Gelb's name cropped up multiple times throughout its investigation into the company's working culture that broke earlier this year.

"The ball grabbing and things like that - that was absolutely well known across the board," one employee said.

The internal investigation was headed up by law firm Seyfarth Shaw, with a special committee from Riot's board overseeing proceedings. He has not been fired, but will be receiving training as well as the two-month unpaid suspension. This was described by an employee as "a tiny slap on the wrist". They're not wrong, it seems!

“As I have mentioned, we are committed to protecting Rioters’ privacy and the integrity of the investigation process," Laurent said in his email.

"This means that you will not hear me or any other leader discuss individual cases.

“Having said that, we made a very rare exception in the case of our COO, Scott Gelb. There are factors that collectively drive this exception. The Special Committee of the Board of Directors has specifically requested that one of Scott’s consequences be highly visible.

Scott holds one of the most senior roles at Riot and is held to a higher level of accountability and visibility, therefore certain consequences are going to be very visible to Rioters. It’s for these reasons I feel it’s necessary to make an exception.”

Riot's working culture came into the spotlight earlier this year following a report from Kotaku. The League of Legends maker didn't deny the allegations made but instead said it needed to change its working culture.

Part of this process was the aforementioned investigation, but the firm has also haired Frances Frei to help overhaul the company's toxic working environment. Previously Frei did the same for transport company Uber.

The League of Legends studio has also recently supported an esports incubator initiative designed to encourage more women to get into esports with Women in Games France, presumably part of its attempt to rehabilitate its tarnished image.

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.