Alienware Terminates ‘League of Legends’ Sponsorship Over Sexual Harassment Investigation


Photo from Riot Games

Alienware had severed ties with “League of Legends” Riot Games following allegations of sexual harassment against the company’s CEO Nicolo Laurent.

A source who spoke to Dot Esports said that the high-performance PC brand by Dell will terminate its global esports partnership 10 months earlier over concerns with the game developer’s public image.

The deal between Riot and Alienware, which encompassed sponsorship for the entire “League of Legends” esports scene, was originally set to expire in January 2022.

Riot Games spokesperson said that the company could not comment about the untimely termination of the agreement due to “confidentiality obligations.”

However, all branding had been removed from all of Riot’s competitive ‘League’ broadcasts earlier this month.

Read Also: Riot Games Urges ‘League Of Legends’ Casters And Players To Avoid Sensitive Issues During Official Broadcasts 

Sexism Allegations

In August 2018, Riot came under fire after Kotaku reported incidents of numerous sexual abuse allegations.

Despite the apology issued by Riot and a promise to implement a 16-month “cultural transformation timeline,” the company remained under fire as more allegations were uncovered.

Three months after, Riot former employees Melanie McCracken and Jessica Negron filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, in which the company agreed to pay $10 million to roughly 1,000 former and current employees, according to Hollywood Reporter.

In December 2018, Chief operating officer Scott Gelb was suspended without pay and had undergone additional training after allegations of inappropriate conduct, which includes hitting male employees in their private parts as a joke, surfaced.

The most recent allegation came to light when another former employee filed a legal complaint in California claiming that Riot wrongfully terminated her in July 2020.

Former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell alleges that Laurent made sexual advances and sexist comments towards her, made her work overtime without any compensation and offered her inappropriate personal travel.

O’Donnell also claimed that Laurent yelled at her for declining his offer, and had her work duties taken away, before

She added that Laurent told female employees that the best way to handle stress during the coronavirus pandemic was to “have kids.”

Unfair Labor Practice

Multiple government agencies in California had put Riot Games under intense scrutiny due to alleged gender discrimination against female employees.

In a joint statement released by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), Riot allegedly “violated the law in multiple ways” towards its treatment of women.

When the report from Kotaku in 2018 was published, DFEH initiated an investigation on the misogynistic environment at the company noting the ‘Melanie McCracken et al. vs. Riot Games’ as the most prominent example.

“Core to giving Rioters confidence in our commitment to culture transformation is taking all allegations of harassment or discrimination very seriously, thoroughly investigating claims, and taking action against anyone who is found to have violated our policies,” said Riot spokesperson Joe Hixson in a statement first published by Daily eSports.

He added that Laurent pledged his full cooperation and shall support the investigation, and assured that the company is fully committed to making sure that all claims are explored and resolved.

Related Article: Riot Games Settles Class Action Lawsuit Over Company’s Alleged Sexist Culture 

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