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Reports: Riot Games suspends COO

FILE PHOTO: A cosplayer dressed as Dark Horse of video game developer Riot Games' League of Legends, poses during the world's largest computer games fair, Gamescom, in Cologne, Germany August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Riot Games recently handed chief operating officer Scott Gelb a two-month, unpaid suspension in response to his workplace harassment of employees, Kotaku reported Thursday.

ESPN subsequently received confirmation of the news from Riot Games.

Numerous employees maintained that Gelb often touched employees’ genitals and rear ends and farted in their faces.

Kotaku reported earlier this year that Riot Games’ workplace in Southern California was badly affected by a “bro-culture.” Both male and female employees singled out Gelb as a main perpetrator, and sexism within the company that developed League of Legends was alleged.

Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent said that the company’s board of directors wanted Gelb’s punishment to be visible. Laurent indicated that though not all allegations made against Gelb were found to be true, enough were corroborated to warrant the suspension.

According to the company’s statement, “As part of our ongoing commitment to evolving our culture, we are thoroughly investigating all claims through our established process. Per this process, outside legal counsel undertook an investigation of allegations about Scott Gelb. After carefully reviewing and considering the findings, the Special Committee of Riot’s Board of Directors determined that a two-month, unpaid leave of absence, along with training, was the appropriate action given the allegations that were substantiated.”

After news of Gelb’s suspension was announced, Kotaku interview several Riot Games employees who were unhappy with the punishment.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to concerns about a company backlash, told Kotaku, “For Riot leadership, protecting their awful friends matters more than protecting their vulnerable employees. And that isn’t going to change unless the workers do something about it directly.”

--Field Level Media