The state of California is investigating Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends, for gender discrimination, and has officially requested that the company provide more detail regarding pay data after certain information was apparently withheld by the studio (something that Riot denies).
The subpoena follows the early stages of an investigation that began after allegations of discrimination and toxicity in the workplace. Apparently, Riot has "refused to provide the Department with adequate information for DFEH to analyze whether women are paid less than men at the company. DFEH seeks the information as part of an investigation into alleged unequal pay, sexual harassment, sexual assault, retaliation, and gender discrimination in selection and promotion."
In response, Riot sent the following statement to Kotaku:
"We've been in active conversations with the DFEH since its inquiry began. Investigations like this can arise when there have been allegations of workplace disparity and we've been cooperating in good faith with the DFEH to address its concerns. During this time, we've promptly responded to the DFEH's requests, and have produced over 2,500 pages of documents and several thousand lines of pay data so far. We've also made several recent requests that the DFEH participate in a call with us to address their requests. To date, these requests have been unanswered, so we're frankly disappointed to see the DFEH issue a press release alleging that we've been non-cooperative. We're confident that we've made substantial progress on diversity, inclusion, and company culture, and look forward to continue demonstrating this to the DFEH."
The conversation surrounding discrimination and a toxic culture at the studio simply won't go away, and last month there were walkouts and protests about the way things are being handled internally. With the DFEH asking for more information for the studio, and with Riot seemingly willing to comply, hopefully, positive change is on the horizon and the studio can continue making improvements that push inclusivity and equality to the fore.